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Frontispiece. \ 

[Sec Preface, p. vi. 

The Archaeology of the 
Cuneiform Inscriptions 


Rev. A. H. SAYCE 






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INDEX 215 



Facing fagt 


from boghaz keui {Frontispiece) 






the tell of jerabis (probably the ancient 

carchemish) . 40 

the tumulus of susa, as it appeared towards the 

middle of last century . . .46 

head of one of the statues from tello . . 58 
vase of silver, dedicated to ningirsu by entena 

patesi of lagas 58 

the tell of borsippa, the present birs-nimrud 78 
the seal of shargani-shar-ali (sargon of akkad) \ 

gilgames waters the celestial ox .88 

bas-relief of naram-sin 88 

sitting statue of gudea 122 

map — the first assyrian empire . . . . 1 35 
view of the temple of ur in its present state, 

according to loftus 141 

the gardens and hill of dhuspas or van . 1 63 
the ruins of a palace of urartu at toprak- 

KALEH 166 




The first six chapters which follow, embody the Rhind 
Lectures in Archaeology which I delivered at Edinburgh in 
October 1906. The seventh chapter appeared as an article 
in the Contemporary Review for August 1905, and is here 
reprinted by the courtesy of the Editor to whom I render 
my thanks. The book is the first attempt to deal with 
what I would call the archaeology of cuneiform decipher- 
ment, and like all pioneering work consequently claims the 
indulgence of the reader. For the sake of clearness I have 
been forced to repeat myself in a few instances, more 
especially in the sixth chapter, but what has thereby been 
lost in literary finish will, I hope, be compensated by an 
increase of clearness in the argument. 

If what I have written serves no other purpose, I shall 
be content if it draws attention to the miserably defective 
state of our archaeological knowledge of Babylonia and 
Assyria, and to the necessity of scientific excavations being 
carried on there similar to those inaugurated by Mr. Rhind 
in Egypt. We have abundance of epigraphic material; it 
is the more purely archaeological material that is still 

The need of it is every year becoming more urgent with 
the ever-growing revelation of the important and far-reaching 
part played by Babylonian culture in the ancient East. 
Excavation is just commencing in Asia Minor, and there 
are many indications that it has startling discoveries 
and surprises in store for us. Even while my manuscript 
was in the printer's hands, Professor Winckler has been 


examining the cuneiform tablets found by him last spring 
at Boghaz Keui, on the site of the old Hittite capital in 
Cappadocia, and reading in them the records of the Hittite 
kings, Khattu-sil, Sapaluliuma, Mur-sila and Muttallu. Most 
of the tablets, though written in cuneiform characters, are 
in the native language of the country, but among them is 
a version in the Babylonian language of the treaty between 
the "great king of the Hittites" and Riya-masesa Mai 
or Ramses II., the Egyptian copy of which has long been 
known to us. The two Arzawan letters in the Tel el- 
Amarna collection no longer stand alone; the Boghaz 
Keui tablets show that an active correspondence was 
carried on between Egypt and Cappadocia. We must 
revise our old ideas about an absence of intercourse between 
different parts of the ancient Oriental world : there was 
quite as much intercommunication as there is to-day. 
Elam and Babylonia, Assyria and Asia Minor, Palestine 
and Egypt, all were linked together by the ties of a common 
culture; there were no exclusive religions to raise barriers 
between nation and nation, and the pottery of the Hittites 
was not only carried to the south of Canaan, but the 
civilization of Babylonia made its way through Hittite 
lands to the shores and islands of Greece. On the south, 
the iEgean became a highway from Asia Minor to Europe, 
while northward the Troad formed a bridge which carried 
the culture of Cappadocia to the Balkans and the Danube. 

A. H. Sayce. 
November 1906. 




The decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions was 
the archaeological romance of the nineteenth century. 
There was no Rosetta stone to offer a clue to their 
meaning; the very names of the Assyrian kings and 
of the gods they worshipped had been lost and for- 
gotten ; and the characters themselves were but con- 
ventional groups of wedges, not pictures of objects 
and ideas like the hieroglyphs of Egypt. The de- 
cipherment started with the guess of a classical scholar 
who knew no Oriental languages and had never 
travelled in the East. And yet it is upon this guess 
that the vast superstructure of cuneiform decipher- 
ment has been slowly reared, with its ever-increasing 
mass of literature in numerous languages, the very 
existence of some of which had been previously un- 
known, and with its revelation of a civilized world that 
had faded out of sight before Greek history began. 
The ancient East has risen, as it were, from the dead, 
with its politics and its wars, its law and its trade, its 
art, its industries and its science. And this revelation 



of a new world, this resurrection of a dead past, has 
started from a successful guess. But the guess had 
been made in accordance with scientific method and 
had scientific reasons behind it, and it has proved to 
be the fruitful seed of an overspreading tree. 

Seventy years ago a single small case was suffi- 
cient to hold all the Assyrian and Babylonian 
antiquities possessed by the British Museum. They 
had been collected by Rich, to whom we owe the 
first accurate plans of the sites of Babylon and 
Nineveh. But the cuneiform characters found on 
the seals and clay cylinders of Babylonia were not 
the only characters of the kind that were known. 
Similar characters had been noticed by travellers 
on the walls of the ruined palaces of Persepolis in 
Persia. As far back as 1621 the Italian traveller 
Pietro della Valle had copied two or three of these, 
which he reproduced in the account of his travels 
• - some thirty years later. One of the first acts of the 
newly-founded Royal Society of Great Britain was 
to ask in their Philosophical Transactions (p. 420) 
whether some draughtsman could not be found to 
copy the bas-reliefs and inscriptions which had thus 
been observed at Persepolis, though the only result of 
the inquiry was that a few years afterwards (in June 
1693) two lines of cuneiform were published in the 
Transactions from the papers of a Mr. Samuel 
Flower, who had been the agent of the East India 
Company in Persia. The editor of the Transactions 
.correctly concluded that the inscriptions were to be 
read from left to right. The cuneiform characters 
which were printed in the Transactions were, how- 
ever, not the first specimens of cuneiform script that 


had been published in England. Thomas Herbert, in 
the fourth edition of his Travels, which appeared 
in 1677, had already given three lines of characters 
taken indifferently from the three classes of inscriptions 
engraved on the Persian monuments ; these were 
afterwards annexed by an Italian named Careri, who 
published them as his own. But the earliest inscrip- 
tion to be reproduced in full was a short one inscribed 
by Darius I. over the windows of his palace, which 
had been copied by Sir John Chardin during one 
of his two visits to Persepolis (in 1665 and 1673). 
Chardin was the son of a Huguenot jeweller in Paris, 
and after returning from his travels settled in London, 
where he became a great favourite of Charles II., and 
was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. The in- 
scription he had copied, however, was not printed in 
the earlier edition of his Travels, and had to wait 
until 1735 before it saw the light. 1 

The existence of the cuneiform script thus became 
known in Europe, and that was all. It was not until 
Carsten Niebuhr, the father of the better-known his- 
torian, had been sent by the Danish Government on 
an exploring mission to the East that fairly complete 
and accurate copies of the inscriptions of Persepolis 
were at last put into the hands of European scholars. 
Niebuhr, who sacrificed his sight to the work, returned 
to Denmark in 1767, and seven years later the first of 
the three volumes in which the scientific results of his 

1 In this year an elaborate edition of his work was brought 
out under the title of Voyages du Chevalier Chardin en Perse, 
et autres Lieux de P Orient, Enrichis de Figures en Tailledouce, 
qui reprhentent les Antiquit/s et les Choses re)narquables du 
Pais (Amsterdam), two pages (167-8) in vol. ii. being devoted 
to the inscriptions, the cuneiform being printed on plate lxix. 


travels were embodied was published at Copenhagen. 
With the publication of the second volume, which 
contained his description of the Persepolitan monu- 
ments, the attempt to decipher the cuneiform char- 
acters began. He himself had noticed that in the first 
of the three classes or systems of cuneiform writing 
of which every inscription consisted, only forty-two 
characters were employed, and he therefore concluded 
that the system was alphabetic. Another Dane, 
Bishop Munter, discovered that the words in it were 
divided from one another by an oblique wedge, 1 and 
further showed that the monuments must belong to 
the age of Cyrus and his successors. 2 One word, 
which occurs without any variation towards the be- 
ginning of each inscription, he correctly inferred to 
signify "king"; but beyond this he was unable to 

Meanwhile, Anquetil-Duperron, with self-sacrificing 
enthusiasm, had rediscovered the Zend of the later 
Zoroastrian faith, and de Sacy, with the help of it, had 
deciphered the Pehlevi inscriptions of the Sassanid 
kings. It was only the older Persian of the Achae- 
menian cuneiform inscriptions that still awaited inter- 
pretation ; and a bridge had been built between it and 
modern Persian by means of the Zendic texts. In 
1802 the guess was made which opened the way to 
the decipherment of the mysterious wedge-shaped 
signs. The inspired genius was Grotefend, an accom- 

1 The discovery has sometimes been claimed for Tychsen 
{De cuneatis hiscriptionibus Perscpolitanis Lucubratio, 1798, 
p. 24), but Tychsen supposed that the wedge was used to divide 
sentences, not words. 

2 Undersogelser om de Persepolilanske Inscriptioner (1800), 
translated into German in 1802. 


plished Latinist and a school-master at Frankfort-on- 
the-Main. He knew no Oriental languages, but his 
mother-wit and common-sense more than made up for 
the deficiency. It was clear to him that the three 
systems of cuneiform represented three different lan- 
guages, the Persian kings being like a Turkish pasha 
of to-day, who. when he wishes an edict to be under- 
stood, writes it in Turkish and Arabic. It was also 
clear to him that the first system must be the script 
of the Persian kings themselves, of which the other 
two were translations. The preparatory work for 
reading this had already been done by Mlinter ; what 
Grotefend now had to do was to identify and read the 
names to which the word for "king " was attached. 

On comparing the inscriptions together he found 
that while the word for " king " remained unchanged, 
the word which accompanied it at the beginning of 
an inscription varied on different monuments. There 
were, in fact, two wholly different words, one of which 
was peculiar to one set of monuments, the other to 
another set. But he also found that the first of these 
words followed the other on the second set of monu- 
ments, though with a different termination from that 
which belonged to it when it took the place of the first 
word. Hence he conjectured that the two words 
represented the names of two Persian kings, one of 
whom was the son of the other, the termination of the 
second name when it followed the first being that of 
the genitive. It was now necessary to discover who 
the kings were whose names had thus been found. 
Fortunately the Achsemenian dynasty was not a long 
one, and the number of royal names in it was not 
large. And of these names, Cyrus was too short and 


Artaxerxes too long for either of the two names which 
Grotefend had detected. There only remained Darius 
and Xerxes, and as Xerxes was the son of Darius, the 
name which characterized the first set of monuments 
must be Darius. 

Grotefend's next task was to ascertain the old 
Persian pronunciation of the name of Darius. This 
had been given by Strabo, while the Persian pronun- 
ciation of Xerxes was indicated in the Old Testa- 
ment. With this assistance Grotefend was able to 
assign alphabetic values to the cuneiform characters 
which composed the two names, and a corner of the 
veil which had so long covered the cuneiform records 
was lifted at last. A comparison of the names which 
he had thus read gave the needful verification of the 
correctness of his method. In the names of Darius 
and Xerxes the same letters occur, but in different 
places ; a and r in Darius occupy the second and 
third places, in Xerxes the fourth and fifth, while sk> 
which is the last letter in Darius, would be the second 
and sixth in Xerxes. And such was actually the case. 
Grotefend was therefore justified in concluding that 
his guesses were correct, and that the right values 
had been assigned to the cuneiform characters. A 
beginning had been made in cuneiform decipher- 
ment, and in this instance the beginning was half the 

Grotefend's Memoir was presented to the Gottingen 
Academy on September 4, 1802. By a curious acci- 
dent it was at the same meeting that Heyne de- 
scribed the first attempts that had been made 
towards deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs. But 
the learned world looked askance at the discoveries of 


the young Latinist. The science of archaeology was 
still unborn, and Oriental philologists were unable 
even to understand the inductive method of the 
decipherer. The Academy of Gottingen refused to 
print his communications, and it was not until 1815 
that they appeared in the first volume of the History 
of his friend Heeren, who, being untrammelled by the 
prejudices of Oriental learning, had been one of the 
earliest to accept his conclusions. 1 For a whole 
generation the work of decipherment was allowed to 

It is unfortunately true that after his initial success 
Grotefend's ignorance of Oriental languages really did 
stand in his way. He assumed that the language of 
the inscriptions and that of the Zend-Avesta were one 
and the same, and accordingly went to the newly- 
found Zend dictionary for the readings of the cunei- 
form names and words. Vishtaspa, the name of the 
father of Darius, was thus read Goshtasp, the word 
for " king " became khsheh instead of khshayathiya, 
and that which Grotefend had correctly divined to 
signify " great," eghre instead of vazraka. It is not 
wonderful, therefore, that he was never able to follow 
up the beginning he had made. 

1 Ideen iiber die Politik, den Verkehr und den Handel der 
vornehmsten Volker der alien Welt, vol. i. pp. 563 sqq. ; trans- 
lated into English in 1833. The revival of interest in Grote- 
fend's work was due to the fact that Champollion, after the 
decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, found the name of 
Xerxes on an alabaster vase at Paris on which, according to 
Grotefend's system, the same name was written in Persian 
cuneiform. This led the Abbe Saint-Martin, who was a recog- 
nized Orientalist, to adopt and follow up Grotefend's discovery 
in a Memoir which he read before the French Academy in 1822, 
and Saint-Martin's work attracted the attention of Rask and 


To do this was reserved for the Zendic scholars of 
a later generation. Rask the Dane in 1826 deter- 
mined the true form of the genitive plural, and thereby 
identified the character for m which gave him the 
names of the supreme god Auramazda and of Achae- 
menes the forefather of Cyrus. 1 But the great step 
forward was made by the eminent French scholar, 
Emile Burnouf, in 1836. 2 The first of the inscriptions 
published by Niebuhr he discovered to contain a list 
of the satrapies of Darius. With this clue in his hand 
the reading of the names and the subsequent iden- 
tification of the letters which composed them could 
be a question only of patience and time. For this 
Burnouf was well equipped by his philological 
knowledge and training, and the result was an 
alphabet of thirty letters, the greater part of which 
had been correctly deciphered. 

Burnouf's Memoir on the subject was published in 
June 1836. In the preceding month his friend and 
pupil, Professor Lassen of Bonn, had also published a 
work on " The Old Persian Cuneiform Inscriptions of 
Persepolis." 3 He and Burnouf had been in frequent 
correspondence, and his claim to have independently 
detected the names of the satrapies, and thereby to 
have fixed the values of the Persian characters, was in 
consequence fiercely attacked. To the attacks made 
upon him, however, Lassen never vouchsafed a reply. 
Whatever his obligations to Burnouf may have been, 

1 " Om Zendsprogets," in the Skandinaviske Literaturselskabs 
Skrifter, xxi., translated into German in 1826. 

2 Menwire sur deux Inscriptions cuneiformes trouve'es prfc 
(THamadan (Paris, 1836). 

3 Die Altpersischen Keil-Inschriften von Persepolis (Bonn, 


his own contributions to the decipherment of the 
inscriptions were numerous and important. He suc- 
ceeded in fixing the true values of nearly all the 
letters in the Persian alphabet, in translating the texts, 
and in proving that the language of them was not 
Zend, but stood to both Zend and Sanskrit in the 
relation of a sister. 

Meanwhile another scholar, armed with fresh and 
important material, had entered the field. A young 
English officer in the East India Company's service, 
Major Rawlinson by name, was attached to the British 
Mission in Persia. A happy inspiration led him to 
attempt the decipherment of the cuneiform inscrip- 
tions. It was in 1835, when he was twenty-five years 
old, that he first began his work. All that he knew 
was that Grotefend had discovered in the texts of 
Persepolis the names of Darius, of Xerxes and of 
Hystaspes, but cut off as he was in his official position 
at Kirmanshah on the western frontier of Persia from 
European libraries, he was unable to procure either 
the Memoir of the German scholar or the articles to 
which it had given rise. Like Burnouf, he set himself 
to decipher the two inscriptions of Hamadan, which 
he had himself copied with great care. He soon 
recognized in them the names that had been read by 
Grotefend, and thus obtained a working alphabet. 
But his position in Persia soon gave him an advantage 
which was denied to his fellow-workers in Europe. 
It was not long before he found an opportunity of 
copying the great inscription on the sacred rock of 
Behistun, which had never been copied before. It 
was by far the longest cuneiform inscription yet dis- 
covered, and was filled with proper names, including 


those of the Persian satrapies. The copying of it, 
however, cost much time and labour, and was accom- 
plished at actual risk of life, as Major Rawlinson, 
better known by his later title of Sir Henry Rawlin- 
son, had to be lowered in a basket from the top of the 
cliff in order to ascertain the exact forms of certain 

In the following year (1836) Rawlinson moved to 
Teheran, and there received from Edwin Norris, the 
Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Memoirs 
of Grotefend and Saint-Martin. In 1837 he finished 
his copy of the Behistun inscription, and sent a trans- 
lation of its opening paragraphs to the Royal Asiatic 
Society. Before, however, his Paper could be pub- 
lished, the works of Lassen and Burnouf reached him, 
necessitating a revision of his Paper and the postpone- 
ment of its publication. Then came other causes of 
delay. He was called away to Afghanistan to perform 
the onerous and responsible duties of British Agent 
at Kandahar, and it was not until 1843 that he was 
once more free to resume his cuneiform studies. A 
year later he was visited by the Danish Professor, 
Westergaard, who placed at his disposal the copies 
he had just made of the inscription on the tomb of 
Darius at Naksh-i-Rustam and of some shorter in- 
scriptions from Persepolis, and Rawlinson's Memoir 
was accordingly finished at last and sent to England. 
Here Norris subjected it to a careful revision, and at 
his suggestion Rawlinson once more visited Behistun, 
where he took squeezes and re-examined doubtful char- 
acters. In 1847 the first part of the Memoir was 
published, though the second part, containing the 
analysis and commentary on the text, did not appear 



[To face p. 16. 


till 1849. 1 The work, however, was well worthy of 
the time and care that had been bestowed upon it. 
The task of deciphering the Persian cuneiform texts 
was virtually accomplished, and the guesses of Grote- 
fend had developed into the discovery of a new 
alphabet and a new language. The capstone was 
put to the work by the discovery of Hincks, an Irish 
clergyman, that the alphabet was not a true one in 
the modern sense of the word, a vowel-sound being 
attached in pronunciation to each of the consonants 
represented in it. 

The mystery of the Persian cuneiform texts was 
thus solved after nearly fifty years of endeavour. A 
harder task still remained. The Persian texts were 
accompanied by two other cuneiform transcripts, 
which, as Grotefend had perceived, must have repre- 
sented the other two principal languages that were 
spoken in the Persian Empire. That the third tran- 
script was Babylonian seemed evident from the re- 
semblance of the characters contained in it to those 
on the bricks and seal-cylinders of Babylonia. Grote- 
fend had already written upon the subject, and had 
even divined the name of Nebuchadrezzar on certain 
Babylonian bricks. 

But this third species of writing, which we must 
henceforth term Babylonian or Assyrian, presented 
extraordinary difficulties. Instead of an alphabet of 
forty-two letters, the decipherer was confronted by 
an enormous number of different characters, while 
no indication was given of the separation of one word 
from another. Moreover the forms of the characters 
as found on the Persepolitan monuments differed 
1 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, x. 



considerably from those found on the Babylonian 
monuments, which again differed greatly from each 
other. On the seal-cylinders, more especially, they 
assumed the most complicated shapes, between which 
and the Persepolitan forms it was often impossible to 
trace any likeness whatever. 

Suddenly a discovery was made which furnished 
an abundance of new material and incited the de- 
cipherer to fresh efforts. In 1842 Botta was sent to 
Mossul as French Consul, and at Mohl's instigation 
began to excavate on the site of Nineveh. His first 
essays there not proving very successful, he transferred 
his workmen further north, to the mound of Khor- 
sabad, and there laid bare the ruins of a large and 
splendid palace which subsequently turned out to be 
that of Sargon. In the autumn of 1845 the excava- 
tions of Botta were succeeded by those of Layard, 
first at Nimrud (the ancient Calah), and then at 
Kuyunjik or Nineveh, the result being to fill the 
British Museum with bas-reliefs covered with cunei- 
form writing and with other relics of Assyrian 

The inscriptions brought to light by Botta were 
copied and published by him in 1846-50. 1 The sump- 
tuous work which was dedicated to them was followed 
by a smaller and cheaper edition, and the author 
gave further help to the student by classifying 
the characters, which amounted to as many as 642.2 
His work proved conclusively the identity of the 
script used at Nineveh with that of the third tran- 

1 Monument de Ninive, with plates drawn by Flandin. 

2 See his Memoir, " Sur lecriture assyrienne," in the Journal 
asiatique, 1847-8, ix.-xu 


scripts on the Persian monuments, as well as the 
substantial agreement of the groups of characters 
occurring in each. 

The Irish scholar Dr. Hincks — one of the most 
remarkable and acute decipherers that have ever lived 
— was already at work on the newly-found texts. In 
1847 he published a long article on " The Three Kinds 
of Persepolitan Writing," 1 and, two years later, another 
"On the Khorsabad Inscriptions." 2 In 1850 he read 
a Paper before the British Association, 3 summing up 
his conclusions and announcing the important dis- 
covery that the Assyrian characters were syllabic and 
not alphabetic, as had hitherto been supposed. With 
this discovery the scientific decipherment of the 
Assyrian inscriptions actually begins. 

The proper names contained in the Persian texts 
furnished the clue to the reading of the Babylonian 
transcripts. The values thus obtained for the Baby- 
lonian characters made it possible to read many of 
the words, the meaning of which was fixed by a com- 
parison with the Persian original. It then became 
clear that Assyrian was a Semitic language, standing 
in much the same relation to Hebrew that the Old 
Persian stood to Zend. 

Its Semitic origin was proved to demonstration 
by the French scholar de Saulcy in 1849. Another 
French scholar, de Longperier, had already discovered 
the name of Sargon in the Khorsabad inscriptions 4 — 
the first royal Assyrian name that had yet been read. 

1 Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, xxi. pp. 240 sqq 
See also pp. 114 sqq. 

2 Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, xxii. pp. 3 sqq. 

3 Edinburgh Meeting, p. 140. 

4 Revue archeologique, 1847, pp. 501 sqq. 


De Saulcy himself subjected the Babylonian tran- 
script of the trilingual inscription of Elwend to a 
minute analysis, and so carefully was the work per- 
formed, and so secure were the foundations upon 
which it rested, that the translation needs but little 
revision even to-day. 1 The old belief in the alphabetic 
nature of the characters, however, still possessed the 
mind of the decipherer, although in one passage he 
goes so far as to say, "I am tempted to believe" 
that the signs are syllabic. But he did not go beyond 
the temptation to believe, and the discovery was 
reserved for Hincks. 

Rawlinson was now at Bagdad. De Saulcy sent 
him his Memoirs, and the British scholar had the 
immense advantage of having in his hands the 
Babylonian version of the great Behistun inscription, 
of knowing the country in which the monuments were 
found, and of possessing copies of inscriptions which 
had not yet made their way to Europe. 

Nevertheless, it is amazing with what rapidity and 
perspicacity he forced his way through the thick 
jungle of cuneiform script. In his Memoir on the 
Persian texts, published in 1847, he already maps out 
with marvellous fulness and exactitude the different 
varieties of cuneiform writing. It is his second Memoir, 
however, which excites in the Assyriologist of to-day 
the profoundest feelings of surprise and admiration. 
This consists of notes on the inscriptions of Assyria 
and Babylonia, and was communicated to the Royal 
Asiatic Society at the beginning of the year 1850. 2 

1 Recherches sur P/criture cundiforme assyrienne (1849). 

2 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, xii. pp. 401 sqq. The 
translation of the Black Obelisk inscription is given on pp.431-48. 


[Sec p. 52. 


[Seep. 21. 

[To /ace p 21. 


One of the inscriptions he has translated in full — 
the annals of Shalmaneser II., on an obelisk of black 
marble discovered at Nimrud and now in the British 
Museum. The text is a long one, and for the first 
time the European reader had placed before him a 
contemporaneous account of the campaigns of an 
Assyrian monarch in the ninth century before our era. 
The translation is substantially correct ; it is only in the 
proper names that Rawlinson has gone much astray. 
The values of many of the characters were still uncer- 
tain or unknown, and he was under the domination of 
the belief that they represented alphabetic letters. 

He was, moreover, mistaken as to the age of the 
monument itself, which he assigned to too early an 
epoch. It was Dr. Hincks who again settled the 
question, by reading upon it the names of Hazael 
of Damascus and Jehu of Israel. 1 This was one of the 
first-fruits of his discovery of the syllabic character of 
the Assyrian signs. Another was the discovery of the 
name of Sennacherib, 2 as well as those of Hezekiah 
and Jerusalem. 8 

Shortly before this Hincks had made another 
discovery of importance. He had deciphered the 
names of Nebuchadrezzar and his father on the bricks 
of Babylon, 4 and had further shown that a cylinder of 
Nebuchadrezzar brought from Babylon by Sir Robert 
Ker-Porter, and written in the cuneiform characters 
met with on the Persian monuments, contained the 

1 Athenceam, December 27, 185 1. 

2 In the Paper read by Hincks before the Royal Irish Academy 
in June 1849, and published the following year. 

3 For Hincks's translation of the annals of Sennacherib, see 
Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 139 sqq. 

* Literary Gazette^ July 5, 1846. 


same text as another cylinder obtained by Sir Harford 
Jones, and inscribed with characters of the most 
complex kind. A comparison of the two texts gave 
him the values of the latter characters, which we now 
know to represent the archaic Babylonian forms of 
the cuneiform signs. 

But the decipherment of the Assyro-Babylonian 
script was not yet complete. In 185 1 Rawlinson's 
long-promised Memoir on the Babylonian version 
of the inscription of Behistun was given to the world, 1 
and consisted of the cuneiform text, with translation, 
grammar and commentary, besides a list of 242 char- 
acters. It announced, moreover, two facts about these 
characters, one of which had already been recognized, 
while the second was received by the Orientalists 
with shouts of incredulity. The first fact was that the 
characters, besides having phonetic values, could also 
be used ideographically to denote objects and ideas. 
The second fact was that they were polyphonous, each 
character possessing more than one phonetic value. 

For once the sceptics seemed to have common- 
sense upon their side. How, it was asked, could a 
system of writing be read the symbols of which might 
be pronounced sometimes in one way, sometimes in 
another ? Anything could be made out of anything 
upon such principles, and a method of interpretation 
which ended in such a result was pronounced to be 
self-condemned. Hincks, however, once more entered 
the field and demonstrated that Rawlinson was right.2 

1 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, xiv. 

2 A List of Assyro-Babylonian Characters (1852) ; also the 
Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, xxii. (1855), and more 
especially The Polyphony of the Assyro-Babylonian Cuneiform 
Writing (1863). 


Hincks was an Egyptologist, and consequently the 
polyphony of the cuneiform characters was not to 
him a new and startling phenomenon. It merely 
showed that they must once have been pictorial — as, 
indeed, their ideographic use also indicated — and in 
a picture-writing each picture could necessarily be 
represented by more than one word, and therefore 
by more than one phonetic value, when the pro- 
nunciation of the word came to be employed 
phonetically. The picture of a foot, for instance, 
would denote not only a " foot," but also such 
ideas as "go," "run," "walk," each of which would 
become one of its phonetic values with the develop- 
ment of the picture into a conventional syllabic 

Excavation was still proceeding on the site of 
Nineveh. Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, himself a native 
of Mossul and the active assistant of Layard, was sent 
in 1852 by the British Museum to complete the work 
from which Layard had now been called away by 
diplomatic duties. 1 In 1853 he made a discovery 
which proved to be of momentous importance for 
Assyrian decipherment, and without which, in fact, it 
could never have advanced very far. He discovered 
the library of Nineveh with its multitudes of closely- 
written clay tablets, many of them containing long 
lists of characters, dictionaries and grammars, which 
have served at once to verify and to extend the 
knowledge of the script and language that the early 
decipherers had obtained. Meanwhile a careful survey 
of the whole country was made at the expense of the 

1 See his Asshur and the Land of Nimrod (1898). 


East India Company, 1 and the French Government 
sent out an exploring and excavating expedition to 
Babylonia under a young and brilliant scholar, Jules 
Oppert. The results of the mission, which lasted from 
185 1 to 1854, were embodied in two learned volumes, 
the first of which appeared in 1863. 2 In these Oppert 
showed, what Hincks and Rawlinson had already 
pointed out, that the peculiarities of the Assyrian 
syllabary were due not only to its pictorial origin but 
also to the fact that it had been invented by a 
non-Semitic people. This primitive population of 
Babylonia, called Akkadian by Hincks, Sumerian 
by Oppert, had spoken an agglutinative language 
similar to that of the Turks or Finns, and had been 
the founders of Babylonian civilization. For these 
views Oppert found support in the tablets of the 
library of Nineveh, a large part of which consists of 
translations from the older language into Semitic 
Assyrian, as well as of comparative grammars, 
vocabularies and reading-books in the two languages. 
Once more the Semitic scholars protested. There 
was no end to the extravagant fantasies of the 
Assyriologists ! The learned world was comfortably 
convinced that none but a Semitic or Aryan people 
could have been the originators of civilization, and to 
assert that the Semites had borrowed their culture 
from a race which seemed to have affinities with 
Mongols or Tatars was an outrage upon established 
prejudices. The Semitic philologist was more certain 

1 F. Jones, Vestiges of Assyria (1855) ; Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, xv. pp. 297 sqq. ; and more especially Memoirs, 
edited by R. H. Thomas, 1857. 

3 Expedition scientifique en Me'sopotamie. 


than ever that Assyrian decipherment was the folly 
of a few "untrained " amateurs, and could safely be 

But the little band of Assyriologists pursued their 
labours undisturbed. In 1855-6 Hincks published 
a most remarkable series of articles in the Journal 
of Sacred Literature, in which the various forms of the 
Assyrian verb were analyzed and given once for all. 
The work has never had to be repeated, and the 
foundations of Assyrian grammar were solidly laid. 
A few years later (in i860) a complete grammar of 
the language was published by Oppert. The initial 
stage of Assyrian decipherment was thus at an end. 

We must now turn back to the second transcript 
of the Persian inscriptions, which, thanks to its greater 
simplicity, had been deciphered before the Assyro- 
Babylonian. The way was opened in 1844 by the 
Danish scholar Westergaard. 1 With the help of the 
proper names he fixed the values of many of the 
characters and made a tentative endeavour to read 
the texts. But the language he brought to light was 
of so strange a nature as to throw doubt on the 
correctness of his method. Turkish, Arabic, Indian 
and even Keltic elements seemed alike to be mingled 
in it. It was not, therefore, till his readings had been 
subjected to revision by Hincks in 1846 2 and de Saulcy 
in 1850 3 that any confidence was reposed in it, and 
the results made available for the decipherment of 

1 In the Zeitschrift fiir die Kunde des Morgenlandes, vi. 
PP- 337 sqq. 

2 Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, xxi. pp. 114 sqq. 
and 233 sqq. 

3 Journal asiatique, xiv. pp. 93 sqq. ; xv. pp. 398 sqq. 


the Babylonian transcripts, the characters of which 
frequently had the same forms. It must be remem- 
bered, however, that Westergaard worked from 
defective materials. Rawlinson had not yet pub- 
lished his copy of the Behistun inscription, which he 
eventually placed in the hands of Edwin Norris, 
who, in 1853, edited the text along with a syllabary, 
grammar and vocabulary, as well as translations and 
commentary. 1 This edition was a splendid piece 
of work, and with it the decipherment of the second 
transcript of the Persian inscriptions may be said 
to have been accomplished. Oppert's Peuple et 
Langage des MMes, which appeared in 1879, did 
but revise, supplement and systematize the work 
of Norris. 

The new language which had thus been brought 
to light was agglutinative. Westergaard had seen in 
it the language of the Medes, and, like Rawlinson, had 
connected it with a hypothetical " Scythian " family 
of speech. The term " Scythian " was retained by 
Norris, who, however, attempted to show that it was 
really related to the Finnish dialects. But the ex- 
cavations made at Susa by Loftus in 185 1 put 
another face on the matter. In 1874, and again more 
fully in 1883, 2 I pointed out that the inscriptions 
found at Susa and other ancient Elamite sites were 
in an older form of the same language as that of the 
second Achaemenian transcripts, and furthermore 
that certain inscriptions discovered by Layard in the 

1 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, xv. 

2 Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, iii. pp. 
465 sqq. ; Actes du Vlieme Congres International des Orient- 
alistes en 1883, ii. pp. 637 sqq. (1885). 


plain of Mai-Amir eastward of Susa were in practi- 
cally the same script and dialect. At the same time 
I fixed the values of the characters in the Mai-Amir 
texts and gave provisional translations of them, with 
a vocabulary and commentary. Oppert and myself 
had already been working at the reading of the older 
Susian inscriptions, a task in which we were followed 
by Weissbach with a greater measure of success. 
But the same cause which had retarded the decipher- 
ment of the second transcript of the Persian inscrip- 
tions — a want of materials — militated against any 
great advance being made in the decipherment of the 
older Susian, and it is only since 1897, when the 
excavations of M. de Morgan at Susa were begun, 
that the student has been at last provided with the 
necessary means. Thanks to the brilliant penetration 
of the French Assyriologist, Dr. Scheil, the outlines 
of the language of the ancient kingdom of Elam 
can now be sketched with a fair amount of complete- 
ness and accuracy. 1 The name of Neo-Susian has 
by common consent been conferred upon the language 
of the second Achaemenian transcripts ; perhaps 
Neo-Elamite would be better. At all events it 
represents the language of the second capital of the 
Persian Empire as it was spoken in the age of Darius 
and his successors, and is a lineal descendant of the 
old agglutinative language of Elam. 

The three systems of cuneiform script, which a 
hundred years ago seemed so impenetrable in their 
mystery, have thus, one by one, been forced to 

1 Mhnoires de la Delegation en Perse; the volumes by Dr. 
Scheil on the inscriptions that have thus far appeared are ii., 
iii., iv., v. and vi. 


yield their secrets. But as each in turn has been 
deciphered, fresh forms of cuneiform writing and new 
languages expressed in cuneiform characters have 
come to light. The first to emerge was that agglu- 
tinative language of primitive Chaldaea which so 
scandalized the philological world and excited such 
strong distrust of the Assyriologists. The question of 
the name by which it should be called has been set at 
rest by the discovery of tablets in which its native 
designation is made known to us. Some years ago 
Bezold published a bilingual text in which it is 
termed " the language of Sumer," 1 and more recently 
Messerschmidt has edited a bilingual inscription of 
the Babylonian king Samsu-ditana in which the 
Semitic "translation" is described as " Akkadfen." 2 
Oppert is thus shown to have been right in the name 
which he proposed to give to the language of the 
inventors of the cuneiform script. 

The first analysis of Sumerian grammar was made 
by myself in 1870, when the general outlines of the 
language were fixed and the verbal forms read and 
explained. 3 Three years later Lenormant threw the 
materials I had collected into a connected and 
systematic form, one result of which was a contro- 
versy started by the Orientalist, Joseph HaleVy, who 
maintained that Sumerian was not a language at all, 
but a cryptograph or secret writing. The answers 
made by the Assyriologists to this curious theory 
obliged its author constantly to shift his ground, but 

1 Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, 1889, p. 434. 

2 Ak-ka-du; Orientalische Literatur-Zeitung, 1905, p. 268. 

3 Journal of Philology, iii. pp. 1 sqq. I endeavoured to settle 
the nature of Sumerian phonology in a Memoir on "Accadian 
Phonology," published by the Philological Society, 1877-8. 


at the same time it also obliged them to examine 
their materials more carefully and to revise con- 
clusions which had been arrived at on insufficient 
evidence. An important discovery was now made 
by Haupt, who had already given the first scientific 
translation of a Sumerian text ; x he demonstrated 
the existenre of two dialects, one of which is marked 
by all tuc phenomena of phonetic decay. 2 This was 
naturally supposed to indicate a difference of age in 
the two dialects, the one being the older and the 
other the later form of the language. Subsequent 
research, however, has gone to show that the two 
dialects were really used contemporaneously, the 
decayed state of that which was called " the woman's 
language " by the Babylonians being due to the fact 
that it was spoken in Akkad or Northern Babylonia, 
where the Semitic element became predominant at 
a much earlier period than in Sumer or Southern 

Up to this time the study of Sumerian had been 
almost entirely confined to the bilingual texts, of 
which a very large number existed in the library of 
Nineveh, and in which a Semitic translation was 
attached to the Sumerian original. Now, however, 
the French excavations at Tello in Southern Baby- 
lonia began to furnish European scholars with 
monuments of the pre-Semitic period, and to these 
the decipherers, among whom Amiaud and Thureau 
Dangin hold the first place, accordingly turned their 
attention. Texts composed in days when Sumerian 

1 Die Sumerischen Familiengesetze (1879). 

2 Gottingen Nachric/Uen, 17 (1880) ; Die Akkadische Sprache 


princes still governed the country, and written by 
scribes who were unacquainted with a Semitic 
language, were successfully attacked with the assist- 
ance of the bilingual tablets of Nineveh. But it was 
soon found that between these genuine examples of 
Sumerian composition and the Sumerian which was 
written and explained by Semitic scribes there was 
a good deal of difference. The Semites had derived 
their culture from their Sumerian predecessors, and 
a considerable part of the religious and legal litera- 
ture that had been handed on to them was in the 
older language. This older language long continued 
to be that of both religion and law, the two con- 
servative forces in society, Sumerian becoming to the 
Semitic Babylonians what Latin was to mediaeval 
Europe. The inevitable result followed : Semitic 
idioms and modes of thought were clothed in a 
Sumerian dress, and the ignorance of the scribe 
produced not infrequently the equivalent of the 
dog-Latin of a modern school-boy. The gradual 
changes that took place in the cuneiform system of 
writing, and the adaptation of it to the requirements 
of Semitic speech, contributed to the creation of an 
artificial and quite unclassical Sumerian, and the 
lexical tablets became filled with uses and combina- 
tions of characters which were professedly Sumerian 
but really Semitic in origin. All this renders the 
decipherment of a Sumerian text even now a 
difficult affair, and many years must elapse before 
we can say that the stage of decipherment is defin- 
itely passed and that the scholar may content himself 
with a purely philological treatment of the language. 
But Sumerian was not the only new language 


outside the circle recognized by the Persian monarchs 
which the decipherment of the cuneiform characters 
has revealed to us. Even before the discovery of 
Sumerian, cuneiform inscriptions had been copied 
on the rocks and quarried stones of Armenia, which, 
when the characters composing them came to be 
read, proved to belong to a language as novel and 
as apparently unrelated to any other as Sumerian 
itself. As far back as 1826 a young scholar of the 
name of Schulz had been sent by the French 
Government to Van in Armenia, where, according to 
Armenian writers, Semiramis, the fabled queen of 
Assyria, had once left her monuments. Here Schulz 
actually found that the cliff on which the ancient 
fortress of the city stood was covered with lines of 
cuneiform characters, and similar inscriptions soon 
came to light in other parts of the country. Before 
Schulz, however, could return to Europe he was 
murdered (in 1829) by a Kurdish chief, whose guest 
he had been. But his papers were recovered, and the 
copies of the inscriptions he had made were published 
in 1840 in the Journal Asiatique. The first to attempt 
to read them was Dr. Hincks, whom no problem 
in decipherment ever seemed to baffle. 1 The char- 
acters, he showed, were practically identical with 
those found in the Assyrian texts, the values of 
many of which had now been ascertained ; but 
Hincks, with his usual acuteness, went on to use the 
Armenian or Vannic inscriptions for settling the 
values of other Assyrian characters which had not 
as yet been determined. In 1848 he was already 
able to read the names of the Vannic kings and fix 
1 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1848, ix. pp. 387 sqq. 


their succession, to make out the sense of several 
passages in the texts, and to indicate the nominative 
and accusative suffixes of the noun. 

Here Vannic decipherment rested for many years. 
There was no difficulty in reading the inscriptions 
phonetically, for they were written in a very simplified 
form of the Assyrian syllabary ; but the language 
which was thus revealed stood isolated and alone, 
without linguistic kindred either ancient or modern. 
The various attempts made to decipher it were all 

So things remained until 1882-3, when I published 
my Memoir on "The Decipherment of the Vannic 
Inscriptions " in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society. Here for the first time translations were 
given of the inscriptions, together with a commentary, 
grammar and vocabulary. At the same time I settled 
the chronological place of the Vannic kings, which 
had hitherto been uncertain, as well as the geography 
of the country over which they ruled, and analyzed 
the ancient religion of the people as made known to 
us by the decipherment of the texts. In revising and 
supplementing Schulz's copies of the inscriptions I 
had obtained the help of squeezes taken by Layard 
and Rassam. The task of decipherment was, after 
all, not so hard a matter as the absence of a bilingual 
text might make it appear. The want of a bilingual 
was compensated by the numerous ideographs and 
"determinatives" scattered through the inscriptions, 
which indicated their general meaning, pointed out 
to the decipherer the names of countries, cities, 
individuals and the like, and gave him the significa- 
tion of the phonetically- written words which in parallel 


passages often replaced them. Moreover, the French 
Assyriologist, Stanislas Guyard, and myself had inde- 
pendently made the discovery that a clause which 
frequently comes at the end of a Vannic inscription 
corresponds with the imprecatory formula of the 
Assyrians, while the decipherment of the inscriptions 
led to the further discovery that not only had the 
characters employed in them been borrowed from the 
Assyrians in the time of the Assyrian conqueror, 
Assur-natsir-pal, but that many of the phrases used 
in Assur-natsir-pal's texts had been borrowed at the 
same time. 

Other scholars soon appeared to pursue and extend 
my work, more especially Drs. Belck and Lehmann, 
whose expedition to Armenia in 1898 has placed at 
our disposal a large store of fresh material. Amongst 
this fresh material are two long bilingual inscriptions, 
in Vannic and Assyrian, one of which had been dis- 
covered by de Morgan in 1890. These have verified 
my system of decipherment, have increased our know- 
ledge of the Vannic vocabulary, have corrected a few 
errors, and, I am bound to add, have in one or two 
cases justified renderings of mine to which exception 
had been taken. A historical Vannic text can now be 
read with almost as much certainty as an Assyrian one. 

With the discovery of the language spoken in 
Armenia before the arrival of the modern Armenians 
the list of lost languages and dialects brought to 
light by the decipherment of the cuneiform script is 
by no means exhausted. Among the tablets found 
in 1887 at Tel el-Amarna in Upper Egypt was a 
long letter from the king of Mitanni or Northern 
Mesopotamia in the native language of his country, 



which has been partially deciphered by Messer- 
schmidt, Jensen and myself. 1 The language turns 
out to be distantly related to the Vannic, but is of 
a much more complicated description. Two of the 
other letters in the same collection were in yet 
another previously unknown language, which the 
contents of one of them showed to be that of a 
kingdom in Asia Minor called Arzawa. Since then 
tablets have been found at Boghaz Keui in Cappa- 
docia, on the site of the ancient capital of the Hittites, 
which are in the same dialect and form of cuneiform 
writing, and prove that in them we have discovered 
at last actual relics of the Hittite tongue. Thanks 
to the light thrown upon them by a tablet from the 
same locality, which I obtained last year, it is now 
possible to raise the veil which has hitherto concealed 
the Hittite language, and in a Paper which will 
shortly be printed I have succeeded in partially 
translating the texts and sketching the outlines of 
their grammar. But any detailed account of these 
discoveries must be reserved for a future chapter ; at 
present I can do no more than refer briefly to these 
latest problems in cuneiform decipherment. 

That other problems still await us cannot be 
doubted. The number of different languages which 
the decipherment of the cuneiform script has thus far 
revealed to us is an assurance that, as excavation and 
research proceed, fresh languages will come to light 
which have employed the cuneiform syllabary as a 

1 See my article, " On the Language of Mitanni," in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archeology, 1900, pp. 171 
sqq. ; and Leopold Messerschmidt in the Mitteilungen der 
Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft, 1899, part iv. pp. 175 sqq. 


means of expression. Indeed, we already know that 
it was used by the Kossaeans, wild mountaineers who 
skirted the eastern frontiers of Babylonia, and a list 
of whose words has been preserved in a cuneiform 
tablet, 1 and also that there was a time, before the 
introduction of the Phoenician alphabet, when "the 
language of Canaan " — better known as Hebrew — was 
written in cuneiform characters. Canaanite glosses 
are found in the Tel el-Amarna tablets, and two 
Sidonian seals exist in which the cuneiform syllabary 
is employed to represent the sounds of Canaanitish 
speech. 2 

And the key to all this varied literature, this 
medley of languages, the very names of which had 
perished, was a simple guess ! But it was a scientific 
guess, made in accordance with scientific method, 
and based upon sound scientific reasoning. It is true 
that it needed the slow and patient work of genera- 
tions of scholars before the guess could ripen into 
maturity ; the discovery of the value of a single letter 
in the Old Persian alphabet was sometimes the labour 
of a lifetime ; but, like the seed of the mustard tree, 
the guess contained within itself all the promise of 
its future growth. On the day when Grotefend 
identified the names of Darius and Xerxes, the 
decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions, and 
therewith of the history, the theology and the civiliz- 
ation of the ancient Oriental world, was potentially 

1 Fr. Delitzsch, Die Sprache der Kossder (1884). 

2 They are now in the possession of M. de Clercq. For a 
translation of the inscriptions upon them, see my Patriarchal 
Palestine, p. 250. 



The modern science of archaeology has been 
derisively called " the study of pots." As a matter of 
fact, the study of ancient pottery occupies a prominent 
place in it, and we cannot turn over the pages of 
a standard archaeological work without constantly 
coming across photographs and illustrations of the 
ceramic art or reading descriptions of vases and 
bowls, of coloured ware and fragmentary sherds. 
Questions of date and origin are made to turn on the 
presence or absence of some particular form of pottery 
on a given site, and fierce controversies have arisen 
over a single fragment of a vessel of clay. A know- 
ledge of ancient pottery is a primary requisite in the 
scientific excavator and archaeologist of to-day. 

The reason of this is obvious. Archaeology is an 
inductive science; its conclusions, therefore, are drawn 
from the comparison and co-ordination of objects 
which can be seen and handled, as well as tested by 
all competent observers. It is built upon what our 
German friends would call objective facts, and the 
method it employs is that carefully-disciplined and 
experimentally-guarded application of the ordinary 
logic of life which can alone give us scientific results. 



The method is one which the purely literary mind 
seems often curiously incapable of comprehending ; 
the literary student is accustomed to deal so ex- 
clusively with matters of merely individual taste and 
theory that he is as little able to understand what is 
meant by scientific evidence and probability as the 
scholar who is not a mathematician is able to follow 
the reasoning of Lord Kelvin. This is a fact which 
has to be borne in mind more especially in archaeo- 
logical science, for the questions with which archaeology 
is concerned so frequently invade the domain of litera- 
ture or appear so closely connected with questions 
that are more or less literary, that the purely literary 
scholar is apt to think himself just as well qualified 
to discuss them as " the man in the street " is apt to 
think himself qualified to discuss the etymology of a 
word. To all such the archaeologist would say, " Go 
and study your pots." 

For pottery is practically indestructible. Like the 
fossils on which the geologist has built up the past 
history of life upon the earth, it is an enduring evidence, 
when rightly interpreted, of the past history of man. 
Like the fossils, moreover, it exhibits a multitudinous 
variety of types and forms. But in all these types and 
forms there is an underlying unity. The primitive 
needs of man are everywhere the same, and the powers 
of mind called in to supply them are the same also. 
The dish and bowl, the vase and its handles, meet us 
again and again wherever we go; and the same 
materials for making them meet us also. The hands 
of man, guided by the brain of man, found clay 
wherewith to manufacture the vessels that he needed, 
and to harden it afterwards in the sun or fire. 


Where or how the first pottery was made we do not 
know, we probably shall never know. When palaeo- 
lithic man first makes his appearance in Europe he 
seems not yet to have been acquainted with it ; but it 
is difficult to prove a negative in archaeology as in other 
sciences, and the absence of palaeolithic pottery may 
be due only to the imperfection of the record. At 
any rate, as we descend the ladder of chronology the 
existence of man is marked more and more by the 
fragments of pottery he has left behind him; at Rome 
a whole mountain of it grew up in the space of a few 
centuries, and the huge mounds that encircled Cairo a 
hundred years ago were mainly formed of mediaeval 
sherds. When excavating on an Egyptian site I have 
sometimes been tempted to think that the people who 
once lived there must have spent their whole time in 
breaking their household ware. 

Now not only are the primitive needs of man much 
the same throughout the world and at all periods of 
time, the nature of man is much the same also ; and 
a distinguishing feature in his nature is love of variety. 
The same variety which we see in the forms of life 
and in the outward appearance and mental aptitudes of 
man himself is reflected in the products of his skill. 
Yet along with this love of variety goes a strong con- 
servative or imitative instinct — an instinct which finds, 
too, its counterpart in nature, '* so careful of the type." 
On the one hand, fashions change ; on the other, a 
fashion once introduced spreads rapidly and maintains 
itself to the exclusion of all others for a determinate 
period of time throughout a determinate area. And 
to nothing does this apply with more truth than to 
pottery. Observation has shown that not only are 


different tribes or countries distinguished by a differ- 
ence in their pottery, but that in each tribe or country 
similar differences distinguish successive periods of 
time. When to this is added the practical indestructi- 
bility of the potsherd, it will easily be seen what a 
criterion is afforded by it for fixing the age and 
character of ancient remains, and their relation to 
other monuments of the past. It is not surprising that 
a study of pottery has become the sheet-anchor of 
archaeological chronology, and that the first object of 
the scientific excavator is to determine the relative 
succession of the ceramic remains he discovers and 
their connection with similar remains found elsewhere. 
Scientific excavation means, before all things else, 
careful observation and record of every piece of 
pottery, however apparently worthless, which the 
excavator disinters. 

But now, unfortunately, I have to make an admis- 
sion. We have, as yet, no ceramic record in either 
Babylonia or Assyria. Until very recently there has 
been no attempt in either country at scientific excava- 
tion. The pioneers, Layard and Botta and Loftus, 
lived and worked before it was known or thought of, 
and we cannot, therefore, be too thankful to Layard for 
having nevertheless given us so full and accurate an 
account of what he found, and the conditions under 
which he found it. The excavations controlled by 
the British Museum have, I am sorry to say, been for 
the most part destructive rather than scientific ; such 
objects as were wanted by the Museum were alone 
sought after ; little or no record has been kept of their 
discovery, and they have been mixed with objects 
bought from natives, of whose origin nothing was 


known. At one spot, Carchemish, the old Hittite 
capital, which, though not strictly in Assyria, formed 
part of the Assyrian Empire, and was the seat of an 
Assyrian governor, the so-called excavations con- 
ducted by the Museum in 1880 were simply a scandal, 
which Dr. Hayes Ward, who visited the spot shortly 
afterwards, has characterized as "wicked." The 
archaeological evidence there, which would have 
thrown so much light on the Hittite problem, has 
been irretrievably lost. 

Matters are better now, and if I may judge from the 
work done by Mr. H. R. Hall at Der el-Bahari in 
Egypt for the Egypt Exploration Fund, his colleague, 
Mr. L. W. King, who has recently been excavating 
for the British Museum in Assyria, will have done 
something to retrieve the archaeological good name of 
our British excavators in the East. M. de Sarzec's 
excavations at Tello in Southern Babylonia were also 
conducted with some consideration for archaeological 
method, at all events on the architectural side, and in 
the capable hands of M. Heuzey the works of art found 
there have been made to yield valuable results. 
Moreover, the history of Tello may be said to be com- 
prised in a single epoch of archaic Babylonia, and all 
objects discovered on the site may consequently be 
regarded as belonging to one age and phase of Baby- 
lonian civilization. Of the American excavations at 
Niffer it is difficult to speak at present. The work 
there has been careful and patient, and has extended 
over a long series of years. The architectural facts 
have been accurately recorded, at all events in the 
case of the great temple of Bel, and about the sequence 
of the inscribed monuments there is little room for 


doubt. But accusations of carelessness have lately 
been brought by the excavators one against the other, 
and when we find the sharpest critic among them 
unable to substantiate his own account of the dis- 
covery of a library and implicitly endorsing the 
assignment of a Parthian palace to the " Mykenaean " 
age, it is impossible to put much faith in their descrip- 
tions of archaeological details. Some years ago the 
Germans explored a cemetery at El-Hibba with con- 
siderable care and thoroughness, and thus revealed to 
us pretty much all we know at present about Baby- 
lonian funereal customs ; yet here again too little 
attention was paid to the pottery, and the actual date 
of the cemetery is still uncertain. It may belong to 
the Babylonian period, but it may also not be older 
than the Persian or even Parthian age. 

The Germans are once more working in the lands 
of the Euphrates and Tigris, but in Babylonia their 
labours have been mainly confined to the Babylon of 
Nebuchadrezzar, where comparatively little has been 
discovered. Since 1904, however, the chief strength 
of the expedition has been directed upon Qal'at 
Shiiqat, where Assur, the primitive capital of Assyria, 
formerly stood, and here we may expect that archaeo- 
logical results of first-class importance will at last be 
obtained. But the work there has not yet advanced far 
enough for more to be done than the mapping out of 
the old city, the ascertainment of certain architectural 
facts, and the recovery of inscriptions of great historical 

It will be seen, therefore, that the reproach brought 
against excavations in Egypt by Mr. Rhind in 1862 
still holds good of excavations in Babylonia and 


Assyria. The first stage in their history is only just 
passing away. The idea that excavation is a trade 
which any one can take up without previous training, 
and that all the excavator need think about is the 
discovery of objects for a museum, is only beginning 
to disappear. In 1862 Rhind could write of Egyptian 
tombs : " I am not aware that there can be found 
the contents of a single sepulchre duly authenticated 
with satisfactory precision as to what objects were 
present, and as to the relative positions all these 
occupied when deposited by contemporary hands. 
Indeed, for many of the Egyptian sepulchral antiquities 
scattered over Europe there exists no record to 
determine even the part of the country where they 
were exhumed. . . . There have thus been swept 
away unrecorded into the past illustrative facts of 
very great interest, which cannot now, according to 
any reasonable probability, be replaced, at all events 
in the degree which there are grounds to believe were 
then possible." 1 Happily, Mr. Rhind's words are no 
longer true of Egypt, where he himself set the first 
example of showing how scientific exploration ought 
to be carried on, and the result is that the ancient 
civilization and culture of Egypt are now known to us 
even better than those of classical Greece or Rome. 

But what was true in 1862 of Egypt is still very 
largely true of Assyria and Babylonia. We are begin- 
ning to know something about the history of Assyro- 
Babylonian architecture ; we know a little about the 
early work of the Babylonians in metal and stone ; 
but the history of A ssyro-Baby Ionian pottery is still, 
speaking broadly, a blank. For most of his know- 
1 Thebes, its Tombs and their Tenants, pp. 62, 66. 


ledge of the ancient Euphratean civilizations the 
archaeologist has to turn to the inscriptions and 
written literature of which such vast quantities have 
survived, and hence, besides being an archaeologist in 
the strict sense, he must be also a decipherer and a 
philologist. He is still precluded from appealing to 
the evidence which can be handled and felt. 

From the point of view of the archaeologist written 
evidence is usually unsatisfactory because it admits 
of more than one interpretation. A translation 
which seems certain to one scholar may be questioned 
by another; an inference drawn from the words of 
a text by one student may be denied by another. 
The statements in the texts themselves may be 
contradictory, or their imperfection may lead to 
wrong conclusions. Above all, the evidence may 
come to the archaeologist from a philologist whose 
bent of mind is literary rather than scientific, and who 
will therefore be unable either to appreciate or to 
understand scientific testimony. Nothing is more 
common than to come across literary critics who 
cannot be made to understand the nature of inductive 

On the other hand, the decipherer of a lost language 
must necessarily be an archaeologist as well. The 
clues he follows will be largely archaeological, and 
he has to appeal to archaeology at every step. The 
method he must pursue is the method of archaeology 
and of other inductive sciences, and the materials he 
uses are in part the materials of archaeology also. 
The philologist who knows nothing of history and 
geography, who is unable to follow a scientific argu- 
ment and appreciate scientific reasoning, can never 


decipher ; he may take the materials given him by 
the decipherer and work them into philological shape, 
but that is all. We must listen to him on questions 
of grammar and vocabulary ; on questions of archae- 
ology his opinions are worth no more than those of 
the ordinary man. 

I have insisted on this point because it is a very 
important one in a study like Assyriology. The 
public naturally thinks that in all Assyriological 
matters the opinion of one Assyriologist is as good as 
that of another. We might just as well suppose that 
in all matters which come under the head of astronomy 
the opinions of every class of astronomer are equally 
authoritative. But in astronomy there are questions 
which are purely mathematical, and there are other 
questions which are more or less chemical, and the 
astronomer who has devoted his attention to the 
spectrum analysis is contented to leave to his mathe- 
matical colleague abstruse calculations in advanced 
mathematics. The Assyriologist who is a gram- 
marian pure and simple is just as little an authority 
on the archaeological side of his study as any one 
else who is ignorant of archaeology, and the materials 
he provides must be dealt with by the archaeologist 
like the literary materials provided for him by the 
classical philologist ; the materials in both cases 
stand on the same footing. 

At the same time, there is a difference between 
them. In the first place, the literary materials with 
which the Assyriologist deals are in a very large 
number of instances autographs. They are the 
actual documents of the writers whose names they 
bear or to whose age they belong. And there is all 


the difference in the world between the letters of 
a Plato or a Cicero which have come down to 
us through numerous copyists and the letters of 
Khammu-rabi of Babylon, the originals of which 
are now in our hands. The inscriptions in which 
Nebuchadrezzar describes his building operations or 
the contemporaneous annals of the Assyrian kings 
are, from the historical point of view, of far more 
value than the books written about them at a later date, 
however admirable the latter may be as works of 
literature ; in other words, they are first-hand sources, 
and, as such, objective facts of much the same 
character as ancient pottery or stone implements. 
Then, in the second place, the documents have to be 
deciphered before they can be treated philologically ; 
and, as I have already said, the task of decipherment 
is in itself an archaeological pursuit. If carried out 
on correct lines it is itself an instance of the appli- 
cation of the inductive method, and it is, moreover, 
constantly compelled to call archaeology or history 
to its aid. Assyriology is thus primarily an archaeo- 
logical study, using the methods of archaeological 
science and demanding the help of the archaeologist, 
even though there are Assyriologists who are not 
archaeologists themselves. 

But for the present our archaeological facts have 
to be taken mainly from the results of the decipher- 
ment of the inscriptions. They are for the most 
part epigraphical ; the excavator has not yet supple- 
mented them, as in Egypt or prehistoric Greece, 
on what I would term the ceramic side. This, 
at least, is the case in Babylonia and Assyria. It 
is no longer the case, however, throughout the ancient 


Assyro-Babylonian world. There is one exception 
to the charge brought by modern archaeology 
against the excavators in the lands of the Tigris 
and Euphrates. M. de Morgan has been working 
for the last ten years on the site of Susa, the capital 
of Elam, and he has brought to his labours the 
knowledge and experience of an excavator who has 
been trained in modern methods and is fully awake 
to the requirements of modern science. At last, at 
Susa, we have an archaeological record of the history 
of culture, based not only on written monuments, but 
also on the more tangible evidence of scientifically- 
observed strata of human remains. It is true that 
Elam is not Babylonia ; but one of the surprises 
of M. de Morgan's discoveries is that in the early 
days of Babylonian history Elam was a Babylonian 
province, and Susa the seat of a Babylonian governor. 
The same culture extended from Sippara on the 
Euphrates to Susa in Elam, and this culture was 
Babylonian. Hence, in default of materials from 
Babylonia itself, we may see in the history of cultural 
development at Susa a counterpart of that in Baby- 
lonia, at any rate during the period when Elam and 
Babylonia were alike under Semitic rule. 1 

At Susa the line of division between the prehistoric 
or neolithic age and the historical epoch is very 
clearly marked. The prehistoric stratum lies twenty- 
five metres below the surface of the mounds, and is 
divided by M. de Morgan and his fellow-workers into 

1 For the archaeological results of M. de Morgan's work, see 
his Me" moires de la Delegation en Perse, vols. i. and vii. The 
eighth volume, which will also be devoted to archaeology, is 
in preparation. 


two periods. The first is distinguished by a fine 
thin pottery, with yellow paste, which is already made 
upon a wheel. It does not exceed from two to seven 
millimetres in thickness ; it is polished, and decorated 
with black bands and various patterns in a brown 
colour produced by oxide of iron. The designs are 
not only geometric, but also represent animal and 
vegetable forms. Among them are rows of ostriches 
identical with those found on the painted prehistoric 
pottery of Egypt. Indeed, the explorers were es- 
pecially struck by the resemblance of the pottery as 
a whole to that of Egypt in the prehistoric age, 
though it is difficult to see what connection there can 
have been between the two countries at so remote a 
date, and the curious similarity between the rows of 
birds depicted on the vases must remain for the 
present an archaeological puzzle. There is also a 
certain amount of resemblance between the geometric 
pottery and that disinterred by M. Chantre at the 
early Assyrian colony at Kara Eyuk in Cappadocia, 
which will be discussed more fully in a later chapter. 1 
Among the geometrical patterns of the Susian ware 
spherical forms are common ; the herring-bone 
pattern is also met with, as well as a pattern like 
the Greek sigma. The under-part of the vases is 
often decorated, so also is the inside. A form of 
vase frequently found is the water-jar with a rounded 
foot ; the goblet is another common shape. Some- 
times the vases are supplied with four handles for 

This fine yellow pottery occurs not only at Susa, 
but also throughout Elam, but practically none of it 
1 Chantre, Mission en Cappadoce^ plates x.-xii. 


has hitherto been discovered in Babylonia. 1 One 
cause of this is doubtless that in the alluvial plain of 
Babylonia a purely neolithic stratum, if it existed at 
all, would lie below the water-level. Maritime shells 
are met with as far north as the site of Babylon, 
showing that the Persian Gulf once extended thus 
far, and the water of the Euphrates still infiltrates 
through the soil. 

The period of the fine thin pottery in Elam comes 
suddenly to an end, and the people of the second 
prehistoric period seem to have been intruders who 
were less civilized than their predecessors and un- 
acquainted with the art of making the older ware. 
Their pottery is coarse and porous, and the geometric 
designs upon it are traced with the pen, not freely 
painted as in the case of the earlier ceramic. The 
animal and vegetable designs of the older ware have 
disappeared, and the zones, triangles and other 
geometric figures which take their place are traced 
in black or maroon-red upon a yellow clay. The 
resemblance between this pottery and that of Kara 
Eyuk is even greater than in the case of the pottery 
of the first period. Thick cylindrical vases are com- 
mon, as well as bowls with a flat bottom and broad 
sides. Some of the vases resemble the bulbous vases 
of the Egyptian Twelfth dynasty ; there are others 

1 The yellow and red wheel-made ware, some of it inscribed 
with characters of the age of Gudea, which has been disinterred 
at Tello, is quite different. This class of pottery, by the way, 
seems to have been preceded by a grey coarse ware, made 
with the hand. One fragment of fine polished yellow ware with 
traces of black ornamentation has recently been reported from 
Tello by Captain Cros {Revue cPAssyriologie, 1905, p. 59), but the 
isolated character of the discovery makes it probable that it was 
an importation from Elam. 


with flat bottoms and angular sides which are also 
like Egyptian water-jars of the same Twelfth-dynasty 
period. Along with these more characteristic forms 
of pottery many small, unpainted cups have been 
found, as well as a few finer wheel-made vases of 
ovoid shape and yellow or reddish colour. It should 
be added that coarse, red, hand-made pottery abounds 
in both the prehistoric periods, as indeed it does also 
in the later historic epoch. 

As the second prehistoric epoch drew to a close at 
Susa, many indications of an advance in culture began 
to show themselves. Vases and flat-bottomed cups 
of soft stone were introduced, among them being a 
few of alabaster ; the bricks began to be burnt in a 
kiln, and even seals with a species of writing upon 
them made their appearance. Nevertheless, the neo- 
lithic age does not pass into the age of metal through 
any transitional stages. 

The earliest stratum which marks the historic age 
yields for the first time clay tablets with inscriptions, 
the characters of which are already developing out of 
pictures into the cursive cuneiform. The inscribed 
cylinder-seals of Babylonia naturally appear along 
with them ; alabaster vases, cups and bowls become 
common, and some of them are cut into the forms of 
animals. Comparatively little pottery has been found 
in this stratum ; but this is probably an accident. 

The next stratum brings us to the period of 
Babylonian supremacy, when the viceroys of the 
Babylonian king ruled at Susa, and Semitic influence 
was already predominant in the Babylonian plain. It 
is the age of Sargon of Akkad, and its commence- 
ment may approximately be placed about B.C. 4000. 



The pottery still consists of a yellow paste, though 
there are also many specimens of a coarse black clay 
decorated with incrustations in white. The yellow 
ware is occasionally ornamented with mouldings of 
trees and other natural objects. A typical vase of 
the period is one of globular shape and small rim, and 
with a moulded or incised rope-pattern running round 
the centre and lower part of the rim. Another type 
is one which looks like an inverted vase, with a series 
of rope-patterns encircling it, while another seems to 
have been copied from the pile of cylindrical vases 
into which, as into a drain, the body of the dead 
Babylonian was inserted. These types of vase appear 
to have lasted, with little variation, down to the end 
of the Persian period, though, unfortunately, the dis- 
turbance of the ground and the consequent mixture 
of objects under the temple of In-Susinak, where the 
excavations were carried on, makes certainty on the 
point unattainable. Immense quantities of bronze 
votive offerings, of all kinds and sorts, were, however, 
found here, along with fragments of glass, and, as 
inscriptions show that they must all have been buried 
on the spot before the tenth century B.C., we have a 
time-limit for dating the forms of the bronze weapons 
and tools. 

The archaeological evidence obtained at Susa has 
been supplemented by excavations made some ninety 
miles to the west of it, at a place called Mussian, on 
the eastern bank of the river Tib. Here there are 
graves, as well as the remains of a temple and houses 
with vaults, columns and walls of burnt brick. Where 
the strata have allowed a section to be cut down to 
the virgin soil the results are found to agree with 


those revealed by the excavations at Susa. The 
earliest layer belongs to the neolithic age, flint and 
obsidian, as at Susa, being the materials employed 
for tools and weapons. The pottery is thick and 
hand-made, the paste being either yellow or red in 
colour, and the surface is often polished, while many 
of the vases are furnished with holes for suspension. 
This layer seems older than anything discovered at 
Susa. It is followed by a second layer, in which the 
pottery is wheel-made, and is decorated with animal 
and vegetable figures in black or red, like the first 
prehistoric ware of the Susa mounds. Among the 
animal figures are those of men, and one fragment of 
yellow ware is ornamented with the so-called swastika. 
In the upper part of the layer a few fragments of 
copper have been met with, indicating that the 
neolithic age was beginning to pass into that of 

Above this layer is a third, characterized by a fine 
ware, usually yellow but sometimes greenish in colour, 
and decorated with designs in lustrous black. In the 
fine specimens the decoration has been laid on before 
firing, in other cases after firing. The pottery as a 
whole has a general resemblance to that of prehistoric 
Egypt. The culture represented by this layer was 
still neolithic, but objects of copper were making their 
appearance, and the flint instruments of the past were 
beginning to be superseded by metal, a knowledge of 
which appears to have come from abroad. With the 
introduction of copper the Elamite or historical epoch 
may be said to have begun. It was now that the 
temple was first built of crude bricks, reeds taking 
the place of wood, and so pointing to the influence of 


Babylonia, where reeds were plentiful and wood was 

Another proof of Babylonian influence must be 
seen not only in ware of Babylonian origin, but also 
in the figures of a nude goddess with the hands placed 
upon the breasts, which originally represented the 
divinity called Istar by the Semitic Babylonians. 
Indeed, from the fact that the goddess was repre- 
sented in human form we may infer that the figures, 
though first met with in the Sumerian age, were of 
Semitic derivation, and show that Sumerian culture 
was already being affected by the influence of Semitic 
religious ideas. 1 The pottery found along with the 
figures is of a very varied description, including coarse 
red and fine yellow ware. Among the fine yellow 
ware are goblets with a tall cup supported on a foot. 
A typical form of the yellow ware is the vase with 
angular sides ; this, together with vases of more 
bulbous shape and terra-cotta stands, is remarkably 
like some of the Egyptian Twelfth-dynasty pottery in 
form. The stands, more especially, remind us of 
Twelfth-dynasty Egypt. There is also a black ware 
decorated with incised lines which are filled in with 
white. This black ware is also found in Egypt, where 
Professor Petrie is now inclined to associate it with the 
Hyksos. At all events it is absent there during the 
interval that elapsed between the prehistoric period 
and the epoch of the Twelfth dynasty, and it 
characterizes the Hyksos sites of the Delta, while its 

1 Copper figurines of the goddess, with hands pressed under 
the breasts, found in one of the earliest substructures of Tello 
{circa B.C. 4000), are published by M. Heuzey in the Revue 
d'Assyriologie, 1899, p. 44. 


foreign and non-Egyptian character has been recog- 
nized from the first. A few fragments of the same 
class of pottery have been brought to light at Tello 
in Babylonia, where they would appear to belong to 
the age of Gudea (B.C. 2700). One of these formed 
part of a cylindrical vase or pyxis, identical in shape 
with the black incised pyxides found at Susa at a 
depth of from five to ten metres below the surface. 
On another fragment are spirited drawings of a water- 
bird, a fish seized by a gull, a four-footed animal, and 
a boat with reeds growing behind it, each in a separ- 
ate panel. 1 Similar ware has been discovered in 
Southern Palestine, on the eastern coast of Cyprus, 
in Spain and in the Greek islands. At Syros, for 
instance, where it goes back to the neolithic age, it is 
associated with alabaster vases, just as it is at Mussian. 
Here the bowls and vases of alabaster are strikingly 
Egyptian in form. 

The clay figures of the Babylonian goddess testify 
to the same extension of culture in the copper age of 
Western Asia as do the black incised vases with their 
white fillings. M. Chantre has found them at Kara 
Eyuk in Cappadocia, on the borders of the Hittite 
region, though in these the arms are no longer folded 
across the breast. Further west I have lately shown 2 

1 Heuzey, in the Revue d'Assyriologie, 1905, pp. 59 sqq. and 
plate iii. Von Lichtenberg (Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen 
Gesellschaft, 1906, 2) has lately pointed out that the black incised 
pottery with white fillings is identical in Cyprus, Troy, the Laibach 
bog and the Mondsee, and that the ornamentation which charac- 
terizes it is found in the valley of the Danube and the pile-dwellings 
of Switzerland. His attempt to derive it from Cyprus, however, 
cannot be sustained in view of its occurrence in Elam. 

2 Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archczology, 1905, 
p. 28. 


that the so-called figure of Niobe on Mount Sipylus 
in Lydia is a Hittite modification of them, and Dr. 
Schliemann discovered one of them, of lead, in the 
ruins of the Second (prehistoric) city at Troy. 1 At 
Troy, however, the type was more usually modified 
in the Hittite direction, as it was also in the islands 
of the ^gean, where marble figures of the goddess 
are plentiful. 2 In Egypt clay figures closely re- 
sembling those of Babylonia and Elam, but with 
the arms outstretched, have been met with from time 
to time at Karnak, and supposed to be dolls of the 
Roman period ; but since the discovery by M. Legrain 
of remains which prove that the history of Karnak 
reaches back to the prehistoric or early dynastic 
period, there is no longer any reason for not connect- 
ing them with their analogues elsewhere. And the 
discoveries recently made by Professor Pumpelly in the 
tumuli near Askabad, west of Khiva and Herat, go 
far towards supporting the identification. Here the 
explorers have brought to light two periods of neo- 
lithic culture, in the earlier of which no animals were 
as yet domesticated, and the pottery was of the 
rudest description. During the second period the 
domesticated animals were introduced, including the 
horse and camel. Then came an age of copper, 
accompanied by figurines representing the Babylonian 

1 Ih'os, p. 337. Schliemann called it the Third city. Dorp- 
feld's subsequent excavations, however, have shown that it 
really was the Second city, whose history fell into three 

2 Some of these represent the goddess with the arms folded, 
and not pressed against the breasts. See, for example, the 
photograph of one found at Naxos in the Comfites rendus du 
Congrh i?iter?iational d Archc'ologie, 1905, p. 221. For Trojan 
examples, see Ilios, pp. 331-6. 


goddess, sometimes with the arms outstretched, 
sometimes with them lying against the sides, as 
in Cappadocia. The figurines are evidence that 
the art of working copper was derived from Baby- 
lonia, a conclusion which is confirmed by M. 
Henri de Morgan's excavations in the tumuli of 
Talish in Gilan, on the south-western shore of the 
Caspian. 1 

As far back as our knowledge of Babylonian 
history extends the inhabitants of the country were 
acquainted with copper, and its use lasted century 
after century into quite recent times. Of a stone age, 
as I have already said, there is no clear trace. It is 
true that Captain Cros has sunk shafts at Tello, and 
reached the virgin soil at a depth of seventeen metres, 
finding there mace-heads of alabaster and hard stone 
similar to those of primitive Egypt, as well as other 
stone objects ; but no flint flakes were met with, and 
the pottery was similar to that of the higher strata. 2 
On the other hand, objects of copper, great and small, 
including helmets and a colossal spear dedicated by 
a king of Kis, have been disinterred, though nothing 
of bronze has been discovered among the earlier 
remains. It was the same at Muqayyar, the ancient 
Ur, as well as on the site of Eridu, where Taylor 
found only copper bowls and the like in the graves, 
even in those of so late a date as to contain objects 

1 See M/moires de la Delegation en Perse, viii. pp. 336-7. A 
report of some of the results of the Pumpelly expedition is 
given by Dr. Hubert Schmidt in the Zeitsclirift fur Etlinologie 
1906, Pt. iii. p. 385. 

2 Flint implements, however, were discovered by Taylor in 
his excavations at Abu Shahrein, the site of Eridu {Journal 
of tJie Royal Asiatic Society, xv. p. 410 and plate ii.). 


of iron and an Egyptian scarab. 1 At Nififer, more- 
over, the ancient Nippur, American excavation has 
the same tale to tell. According to Dr. Peters, 2 
though iron knives, hatchets, spear-heads and arrow- 
heads have been exhumed, the date of which is said 
to be between 2000 and 1000 B.C., there is no trace 
of bronze, the multitudinous objects, which further 
west would have been of bronze, being here of copper. 
As at Ur, the copper age lasts down to the very 
end of the Babylonian kingdom. Hilprecht, on the 
authority of Haynes, does indeed say 3 that in the 
very lowest strata of the temple mound, far below the 
pavements of Sargon and Naram-Sin (B.C. 3750), 
" fragments of copper, bronze and terra-cotta vessels" 
were disinterred. But no attempt seems to have 
been made to analyze the so-called "bronze," which 
may have been a natural alloy of copper with a small 
percentage of lead or antimony, and the age ascribed 
to the fragments is rendered doubtful by the accom- 
panying statement, that " fragments of red and black 
lacquered pottery " were discovered in the same 
place which were indistinguishable from the red and 
black pottery of classical Greece. As yet, therefore, 
excavation in Babylonian lands has failed to tell 
us when the art of mixing tin with the copper 
was discovered and copper was superseded by 

This, however, had taken place before the com- 

1 See Taylor's "Notes on the Ruins of Muqeyer," in the 
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, xv. pp. 271-3 and 


2 Nippur, vol. ii. pp. 381-6. 

3 The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, i. 2, pp. 26-7. 


mencement of the Assyrian age. The bronze scimitar 
of Hadad-nirari I. (B.C. 1330) x finds an exact copy 
in a scimitar discovered by Mr. Macalister at Gezer 
in Palestine, 2 and the tools and weapons exhumed at 
Nineveh are of bronze and not copper. Analysis 
shows that the bronze usually consisted of about one 
part of tin to ten of copper, though for special objects 
like bells the amount of tin was considerably in- 
creased. 3 When was it that the tin was first imported 
and intentionally mixed with the copper in order to 
harden the metal ? 

In default of archaeological evidence, the only 
possibility there is of discovering an answer to this 
question lies in an examination of the primitive 
pictures out of which the cuneiform characters eventu- 
ally developed. Here we are at once struck by a 
curious fact. The "determinative" attached to ideo- 
graphs signifying " knife," " weapon " and the like 
is not an ideograph which expresses the name of a 
metal ; nor is it an ideograph denoting " stone," but 
one which means " wood." That is to say, the material 
of which cutting instruments were made at the time 
when the picture-writing of Babylonia came into 
existence was neither metal nor stone, but wood. 
That it should not have been stone is explained by 
the geology of the Babylonian plain, which consists 
of alluvial soil devoid of stones. That it should not 
have been of metal can only mean that the inventors 
of the pictorial script were not yet acquainted with 

1 Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, 1876, 
pp. 347-8. 

2 Figured in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine 
Exploration Fund, October 1904, p. 335. 

3 Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 571-3. 


the use of copper, bronze or iron. In default of 
metal and stone they had to content themselves with 
hard wood. 

On the other hand, copper, as well as gold and 
silver, had become known to them when the primitive 
pictographs were still in process of formation, and 
long before they had passed into cursive cuneiform. 
Copper was represented by the picture of an ingot 
or square plate of the metal with a handle attached 
to it, showing that it was already in a fused and 
worked state when it was imported into Babylonia. 
Gold seems to have originally been denoted by the 
picture of a collar or necklace, which signified 
"shining," and was afterwards employed before the 
names of the precious metals. I have, however, never 
found this collar actually used to signify " gold " ; in 
the earliest texts yet discovered the phonetic syllable 
gi is attached to it when " gold " is denoted, the 
Sumerian word for " gold " being azag-gi. " Silver " 
was "the white precious metal," the symbol for 
"white" being attached to the picture of the collar, 
and so forming a compound ideograph. This implies 
that silver became known to the inventors of the 
hieroglyphs at a later period than gold, though still 
before what I will call the cuneiform age. Even iron 
was known to them at the same early epoch, and was 
expressed by ideographs which literally mean " stone 
of heaven," l an indication that meteoric iron must be 
referred to. 

1 ANA-BAR. Bar is given as the Sumerian pronunciation 
of the word for "stone" {Syllabary 5, iv. 11, in Delitzsch's 
Assyrische Lesestiicke, 3rd edition). In Old Egyptian " iron " was 
similarly ba-n-pet, "stone of heaven," while "silver" was "white 
gold," " gold " being symbolized by a collar. We may compare 


[See p. 73. 


[Seep. 58. 

[To face p. 58. 


But now comes a fact which is difficult to explain, 
so contrary is it to the archaeological evidence. As 
we have seen, no traces of bronze have been found in 
the Assyro-Babylonian region before the beginning 
of the Assyrian age — let us say about B.C. 2000. 
Nevertheless, by the side of the simple ideograph 
which denotes the Sumerian tirudu, " copper " — er& in 
Semitic Babylonian — we find a compound ideograph 
signifying " bronze," called zabar in Sumerian, from 
which the Semites borrowed their 'siparrn. It is true 
that it is a compound ideograph, but it occurs in the 
cuneiform texts, not only in the era of Gudea (B.C. 
2700), but even before the age of Sargon of Akkad 
(B.C. 3800). And an analysis of its earliest form seems 
to indicate that it really must have meant bronze 
from the first, and that consequently there was no 
transference of signification in later days. Literally 
it means " white copper," the word for " copper " being 
phonetically written ka-mas, with which the Semitic 
Babylonian kemassu is closely connected. Lead 
cannot be intended, as that was denoted by a 
different word and different ideographs, and I do not 
see what else " white copper " can be in contradis- 
tinction to red copper except bronze. Polished 

the Indo-European " white " metal as a name of " silver." The 
Sumerian azaggi, "gold," was a form of azagga^ "precious,'' 
more especially " precious metal " ; the more specific word for 
" gold n was guskin, with which the Armenian oski must be 
connected. "Silver" was bdbara, the "bright " metal, nagga being 
"lead," the Armenian anag. The identity of the Armenian and 
Sumerian words for "gold" and "lead," coupled with the 
Armenian origin of the vine, and the fact that the mountain on 
which the ark of the Babylonian Noah rested was Jebel Judi, 
south of Lake Van, raises an interesting question as to the 
origin of Sumerian civilization. 


copper could be termed "bright," but hardly 
"white." 1 

The possibility remains that tin might have been 
the metal originally denoted by the compound ideo- 
graph. If so, both the ideograph and the words 
expressed by it had lost all reference to tin before the 
beginning of the Assyrian period, and neither the 
Assyrian word for " tin " nor the Sumerian word, if 
any existed, is now known. Tin, moreover, was 
archaeologically late in making its appearance. The 
earliest examples of pure tin of which I know are of 
the time of the Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty. On 
the other hand, bronze first appears in Egypt in the 
age of the Twelfth dynasty, 2 though it does not 

1 It must be remembered, however, that, according to Aristotle, 
the copper of the Mossynceci in Northern Asia Minor was 
brilliant and white, owing to its mixture with a species of earth, 
the exact nature of which was kept a secret. The Babylonian 
ideograph for " bronze," therefore, may have been a similar 
kind of hardened copper, which was transferred to denote 
"bronze" when the alloy of copper and tin became known. 

2 See Garstang, El-Ardbah, p. 10. Dr. Gladstone, however, 
after giving the results of his analysis of the Sixth-dynasty 
copper discovered by Professor Petrie at Dendera, suggests that 
the small amount of tin observable in it (about one per cent.) 
may have been added to it artificially (Dendereh, p. 61). Bronze 
was " the normal metal " of the Amorite period at Gezer (Mac- 
alister, Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 
April 1904, p. 1 19), and the three cities which represent this period 
go back beyond the age of the Twelfth Egyptian dynasty, to at 
least B.C. 2900 (see Quarterly Statement, January 1905, pp. 28-9). 
At Troy also Schliemann found numerous bronze weapons in 
the Second (prehistoric) city (Ilios, pp. 475-9). In Krete 
bronze daggers of the Early Minoan period (coeval with the 
Middle Empire of Egypt) have been found at Patema and Agia 
Triada (Annual of the British School at Athens, x. p. 198), and 
the pottery of the Middle Minoan period (B.C. 2000-1500) was 
associated at Palaikastro with a bronze button, two miniature 
bronze sickles, and a pair of bronze tweezers {ibid, p . 202). As for 
the Caucasus, bronze was not known there till a late date. Wilke 


become common until the Hyksos predecessors of the 
Eighteenth dynasty had made themselves masters of 
the valley of the Nile. From about B.C. 1600 onwards, 
enormous quantities of it were employed in the eastern 
basin of the Mediterranean and the adjoining lands, 
necessitating an equally large supply of tin. What 
the source of this tin may have been it is not my 
present purpose to inquire. But the persistence of 
the copper age in Babylonia, as well as in the tumuli 
of Askabad, east of the Caspian, indicates that the 
manufacture of bronze must have migrated from the 
north-west to the Babylonian plain. We find it first 
in Assyria, not in Babylonia, and it may well be that 
the Assyrians derived it from Armenia and the popu- 
lation of Cappadocia, where, as I shall show in a 
subsequent chapter, they had established colonies at 
an early period. At all events, the earliest examples 
of bronze yet met with were discovered by Dr. 
Schliemann in the Second prehistoric city at Troy. 
It was to this region that classical tradition referred 
the origin of working in iron. An analysis of the 
gold of the first six Egyptian dynasties submitted to 
Dr. Gladstone by Professor Petrie proved that it was 
mixed with silver, and hence must have been derived 
from Asia Minor. 1 Egyptian legend made "the 
followers of Horus," who founded dynastic Egypt, 

{Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie, 1904, pp. 39-104) has shown that 
the bronze culture of the Caucasus was derived from the valley 
of the Danube, and made its way eastward along the northern 
coast of Pontus ; see also Rossler, Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, 
1905, p. 118. 

1 Dendereh (Egypt Exploration Fund), p. 62, for the gold of 
the Sixth dynasty ; The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties, 
PP« 39-4°> for that of the First dynasty. 


metallurgists and smiths whose metal weapons 
enabled them to subdue the older neolithic popula- 
tion. The story as it has come down to us declares 
the smiths to have been workers in iron ; iron, how- 
ever, must be the substitute of the later version of the 
story for some other metal, since, though Vyse claims 
to have discovered an iron clamp in the great pyramid 
of Giza, 1 and Petrie has found a mass of iron in a 
Sixth-dynasty deposit in the temple of Osiris at 
Abydos, 2 ironsmiths can hardly have existed in the 
pre-dynastic age. It is probable, therefore, that 
copper was the metal which the dynastic Egyptians 
introduced into their new home, and which was 
already in use in Babylonia. But the intercourse 
with Asia Minor, which the gold of the First dynasty 
indicates must even then have been going on, makes 
it possible that it was from this quarter of the world 
that the earliest knowledge of the manufacture of 
bronze was brought to the valley of the Nile. Even 
in the time of the Twelfth dynasty, however, the 
tools found by Professor Petrie in the workmen's 
huts at Kahun are of copper rather than of bronze. 3 
The colossal statue of King Pepi of the Sixth dynasty, 
discovered at Hierakonpolis, is of hammered copper, 

1 Vyse, Pyramids of Gizeh, i. p. 276. The clamp was actually 
found by his assistant Hill, after blasting away the two outer 
stones behind which it had been placed. 

2 Abydos, part ii. p. 33. An iron pin of the age of the 
Eighteenth dynasty was found by Garstang at Abydos (El- 
Arabah, p. 30). 

3 Illahun, Kahun and Curob, p. 12. Dr. Gladstone's 
analyses give only about 2 parts of tin to 96*35 of copper. The 
bronze of the Eighteenth dynasty found at Gurob yielded a 
less proportion of tin (about 7 parts to 90 of copper) than the 
bronze of the Second Assyrian Empire. A ring of pure tin, 
however, was also discovered at Gurob. 


and we have to wait for the advent of the Eighteenth 
dynasty before bronze becomes the predominant 

That such was the case points to the Hyksos 
period as that in which bronze succeeded in super- 
seding the older copper. It may be that the Hyksos 
brought the extended use of it with them from Syria. 
In Southern Palestine, Mr. Macalister's excavations at 
Gezer have shown that bronze rather than copper was 
largely employed throughout the so-called Amorite 
period, which went back to an earlier age than that 
of the Twelfth dynasty, and it is just here that in the 
time of the Eighteenth dynasty bronze itself began 
to make way for iron. Mr. J. L. Myres has recently 
traced the polychrome pottery of Southern Canaan 
to the Hittite lands of Cappadocia, 1 where the red 
ochre was found by which it was characterized, and a 
knowledge of bronze may have travelled along the 
same road. 

But these are speculations which may or may not 
be verified by future research. For the present we 
must be content with the fact that, in spite of the 
philological evidence to the contrary, copper, and 
not bronze, was the metal which preceded the use of 
iron in Babylonia, whereas in the northern kingdom 
of Assyria bronze was already known at a com- 
paratively early date. So far as the existing 
evidence can carry us, it seems to indicate that 
Babylonia was the primitive home of the copper 
industry, while bronze, on the other hand, made its 
way eastward from Asia Minor and the north of 
Syria. Where bronze was first invented is still un- 
1 Journal of tJie Anthropological Institute^ xxxiii. pp. 367 sqq. 


known to us ; all that seems certain is that it must 
have been in a land where copper and tin are found 


According to the mineralogists, in the western part 
of the northern hemisphere tin is found only in Britain, 
Spain and the neighbourhood of Askabad, the scanty 
surface-tin of Saxony, France and Tuscany being too 
poor and insignificant to have attracted attention in 
antiquity (see de Morgan, Mission Scientifique au 
Caucase, ii. pp. 16-28). The American excavations at 
Askabad under Professor Pumpelly appear to have 
made it clear that bronze was not invented in that 
part of the world, or indeed used in early days, and 
we are thus thrown back on Britain and Spain. It is 
quite certain, however, that bronze made its way to 
the west of Europe from the east, and the Hon. John 
Abercromby has proved {Journal of the Anthropological 
Institute, xxxii. pp. 375-94, and Proceedings of Society 
of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1903-4, pp. 323-410) that 
the bronze culture came to this country from the 
valley of the central Rhine where it cuts the river at 
Mayence. On the other hand, the bronze-age civiliza- 
tion of the Danube valley, the Balkan peninsula and 
Italy forms a whole with that of the south-eastern 
basin of the Mediterranean, which again is closely 
connected with the bronze-age culture of the ^Egean, 
Asia Minor and Egypt, while the civilization of the 
Danube valley leads on to that of Central Europe 
and, to a less extent, of Scandinavia and Northern 
Germany. Montelius {Journal of the AntJiropological 


Institute, 1900, pp. 89 sgq.) has pointed out that the 
early bronze culture of Northern Italy was carried to 
Scandinavia along the route of the amber trade as 
far back as the close of the neolithic age in Sweden, 
and the numerous objects of Irish gold found in 
Scandinavia — though, it is true, of somewhat later 
date — show that commercial relations must have 
existed between the British Islands and the Scandi- 
navian peninsula. Tin might have followed the gold 
route until it met the amber route, by which it would 
have been carried southward to Central Europe and 
the Adriatic. 

In Western Europe the sword, like the socketed celt, 
is first met with in the third and last period into 
which the bronze age has been divided. The earliest 
examples of the sword, in fact, are those discovered 
at Mykenae, which belong to the age of the Eighteenth 
Egyptian dynasty. Schliemann found only the dirk 
at Troy, and, so far as our present evidence goes, 
the dirk alone was used by the Hittites and Proto- 
Armenians down to the seventh century B.C. The 
scimitar, however, was known in Assyria and at Gezer 
at least as early as the fourteenth century B.C. (see 
p. 57 above), and in Cyprus the sword makes its ap- 
pearance along with the knife and fibula in the later 
bronze age after the close of the age of copper. 
Similarly in Krete it was only in tombs of the Late 
Mykensean (or Late Minoan) period that the cemetery 
of Knossos yielded swords of bronze {Annual of the 
British School at Athens, x. p. 4). The dirk of the 
copper age was stanged as at Troy and in the Danube 
valley, the Cyprian and Hungarian forms being prac- 
tically identical. From the Danube valley the stanged 


spear-head passed to Western Europe during the 
second period of the bronze age. The fibula is not 
found at Troy, where the early bronze age will have 
corresponded with the copper age of Cyprus. 

All this goes to show (i) that the scimitar — the 
harpe of the Perseus myth — was a Semitic invention, 
while the long sword was of European origin ; (2) 
that at Troy, and possibly also in Southern Palestine, 
to which Hittite polychrome pottery was carried 
at an early date, bronze was known at a time when 
only copper was used in Cyprus and Egypt ; and (3) 
that the characteristic weapon of this primitive bronze 
age was the dirk, which continued to characterize 
Asia Minor long after the sword and scimitar had 
been invented elsewhere. Taken in connection with 
the fact that the pottery and decorative designs of 
Asia Minor can be linked with those of the Balkan 
peninsula and the valley of the Danube, we may pro- 
visionally conclude that Northern Asia Minor was 
the home of the invention of bronze. Against this is 
the fact that no tin has hitherto been found there, 
and we should accordingly have to explain the origin 
of bronze by the theory that after the discovery of 
various processes for hardening copper, further ex- 
periments were made with imported tin. Unfortun- 
ately, neither the south of Cornwall nor Asia Minor, 
with the exception of the Troad, has as yet been 
scientifically explored from an archaeological point of 
view. But it deserves mention that the curious 
needles with a double head of twisted wire, which are 
met with among the remains of the bronze age in 
Britain, are characteristic of the copper age in Cyprus 
and of the early bronze age at Troy. 



Among the first results of the decipherment of the 
Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions was one which was so 
unexpected and revolutionary, that it was received 
with incredulity and employed to pour discredit on 
the fact of the decipherment itself. European scholars 
had long been nursing the comfortable belief that the 
white race primarily, and the natives of Europe second- 
arily, were ipso facto superior to the rest of mankind, 
and that to them belonged of right the origin and 
development of civilization. The discovery of the 
common parentage of the Indo-European languages 
had come to strengthen the belief; the notion grew 
up that in Sanskrit we had found, if not the primeval 
language, at all events a language that was very near 
to it, and idyllic pictures were painted of the primi- 
tive Aryan community living in its Asiatic home 
and already possessed of the elements of its later 
culture. Outside and beyond it were the barbarians, 
races yellow and brown and black, with oblique eyes 
and narrow foreheads, whose intelligence was not 
much above that of the brute beasts. Such culture 
as some of them may have had was derived from the 
white race, and perhaps spoilt in the borrowing. The 



idea of the rise of a civilization outside the limits of 
the white race was regarded as a paradox. 

It was just this paradox to which the first 
decipherers of Assyrian cuneiform found themselves 
forced. And another paradox was added to it. 
Not only had the civilization of the Euphrates and 
Tigris originated amongst a race that spoke an 
agglutinative language, and therefore was neither 
Aryan nor Semitic, the civilization of the Semitic 
Babylonians and Assyrians was borrowed from this 
older civilization along with the cuneiform system of 
writing. It seemed impossible that so revolutionary 
a doctrine could be true, and Semitic philologists 
naturally denounced it. For centuries Hebrew had 
been supposed to have been the language of Paradise, 
and the old belief which made the Semitic Adam the 
first civilized man still unconsciously affected the 
Semitic scholars of the nineteenth century. It was 
hard to part with the prejudices of early education, 
especially when they were called upon to do so by a 
small group of men whose method of decipherment 
was an enigma to the ordinary grammarian, and who 
were introducing new and dangerous principles into 
the study of the extinct Semitic tongues. 

The method of decipherment was nevertheless a 
sound one, and the result, which seemed so incredible 
and impossible when first announced, is now one 
of the assured facts of science. The first civilized 
occupants of the alluvial plain of Babylonia were 
neither Semites nor Aryans, but the speakers of an 
agglutinative language, and to them were due all the 
elements of the Babylonian culture of later days. 
It was they who first drained the marshes, and 


regulated the course of the rivers by canals, thereby 
transforming what had been a pestiferous swamp into 
the most fertile of lands ; it was they who founded 
the great cities of the country, and invented the 
pictorial characters, the cursive forms of which became 
what we term cuneiform. The theology and law of later 
Babylonia went back to them, and long after Semitic 
Babylonian had become the language of the country, 
legal judgments were still written in the old language 
and the theological literature was still studied in it. 
The Church and the Law were as loth to give up the 
dead language of Sumer as they were in modern 
Europe to give up the use of Latin. 

This dead agglutinative language has been called 
sometimes Akkadian, sometimes Sumerian, but 
Sumerian is the name which has been finally selected. 
In fact, this was the name applied to it by the Semitic 
Babylonians themselves, who included in the term the 
two dialects — or rather the two forms of the language 
at different periods of its development — which have 
been preserved to us in the cuneiform tablets. Strictly 
speaking, the dialect which had been most affected by 
contact with the Semites, and had in consequence 
suffered most from phonetic decay, was known as the 
language of Akkad, but this was because Akkad 
represented Northern Babylonia, which had become 
Semitic at an earlier date than the south and had been 
the seat of the first great Semitic Empire. 1 Both 

1 The two dialects were called eme-K.XJ (i.e. enie-lakhkha, 
W.A.I, iii. 4,31, 32), "the language of the enchanter," and eme-SAL, 
"the woman's language," which are rendered in Semitic Baby- 
lonian, lisan Sumeri and (lisa?i)Akkadi, "the language of Sumer " 
and "the language of Akkad.'' In a tablet (81, 7-27, 130, 6, 7) 
they are said to be "like" one another. Other dialects were 


names, Akkadian and Sumerian, are correct as applied 
to the primitive language of Chaldaea, but of the 
two Sumerian is preferable, not only because it was 
used by the Babylonian scribes themselves, but also 
because it denoted the oldest and purest form of the 
language before it had passed under foreign influence. 
This, then, was the great archaeological fact which 
resulted from the decipherment of the Assyro-Baby- 
lonian texts. The earliest civilized inhabitants of 
Babylonia did not speak a Semitic language, and 
therefore presumably they were not Semites. It is 
perfectly true that language and race are not synony- 
mous terms, and that we are seldom justified in 
arguing from the one to the other. But the Sumerian 
language is one of the exceptions which proves the 
rule. Those who spoke it were the first civilizers of 
Western Asia, the inventors and perfecters of a 
system of writing which was destined to be one of 
the chief humanizing agents of the ancient world, the 
authors of the irrigation engineering of the Babylonian 
plain, and the builders of its many cities. The 
language they spoke, accordingly, could not have been 
forced upon them by conquerors who have otherwise 
left no trace behind them, and they certainly would 
not have exchanged it of their own accord for their 
native tongue. The Semitic languages have always 
been conspicuous for the tenacity with which they 

termed "the language of the sacrificer" and "the language of 
the anointer," as being used by these two classes of priests. 
They differed, perhaps, from the standard dialects in intonation 
or the use of technical words. We hear also of "a carter's 
language" in which anbarri — which, it is noticeable, is a 
Sumerian word — meant "yoke and reins,'' i.e. "harness" 
{Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, ix. p. 164). 


have held their own, and the conservatism with which 
they have resisted change. We may still hear in the 
Egyptian Arabic of to-day the very words which were 
written by Semitic Babylonian scribes upon their 
tablets some four or five thousand years ago. A 
Semitic people would have been the last to borrow 
the language of its less-civilized neighbours without 
any assignable reason. The fact, consequently, that 
the pioneers of Babylonian culture spoke an aggluti- 
native language fully justifies us in concluding that 
they belonged to a race that was not Semitic. 

Sumerian, however, was not the only language in 
the neighbourhood of the Babylonian plain which was 
agglutinative. Further to the east, in the highlands 
of Elam, other agglutinative languages were spoken, 
monuments of one or more of which have been pre- 
served to us. Whether or not the agglutinative 
languages of Elam were related to the Sumerian of 
Babylonia, I cannot tell ; so far as our materials go 
at present they do not warrant us in saying more 
than that, like Sumerian, they were of the aggluti- 
native type. It is only rarely that the scientific 
philologist is able to separate some of the multitudinous 
languages of the globe into genealogically related 
groups ; for the most part they stand isolated and 
apart from one another, and, however much we may 
wish to group them together, it is seldom that we find 
such proofs of a common descent as will satisfy the 
requirements of science. Families of speech — or at 
all events such as can be scientifically proved to be 
so — are the exception and not the rule. 

Eastward of Sumer the type of language was thus 
agglutinative, as it was in Sumer itself. And in the 


days when civilization first grew up there, there is no 
sign or trace of the languages we call inflectional. 
The speakers of Aryan dialects, whom we find in 
classical times in Media or Persia or North-Western 
India, belong to a later epoch; the old belief in the 
Asiatic cradle of the Aryan tongues has long since 
been given up by the anthropologist and comparative 
philologist, 1 and it is recognized that if we are to look 
for it anywhere it must be in Eastern Europe. The 
Semitic languages are equally absent ; the tide of 
Semitic speech which eventually overflowed Baby- 
lonia, surged northward and eastward into Assyria and 
Elam, but never succeeded in passing Susiana, and 
was finally driven again from the ground it had once 
gained there. The home of the Semite lay to the 
west and not to the east of the Babylonian plain. 
Babylonian culture owed its origin to a race whose 
type of language was that of the Finn, of the Magyar 
or the Japanese. 

The physical characteristics of this race cannot 
as yet be fully determined. The oldest sculptures 
yielded by Babylonian excavation belong to a time 
when the Semite was already in the land. It might 
be supposed that the early monuments of Tello, which 
were erected by Sumerian princes and go back to 
Sumerian times, would give us the necessary materials ; 
but not only are they too rude and infantile to be of 
scientific use, they also indicate the existence of two 
ethnological types, one heavily bearded, the other 
beardless, with oblique eyes and negrito-like face. It 
is not until we come to the age of Semitic domina- 

1 Fick, however, is an exception (Beitrdge zur Ku?ide der 
indogermanischen Sprachen, xxix. pp. 229-247. 


tion that sculpture is sufficiently realistic for exact 
anthropological purposes. At the same time, there 
was to the last a marked contrast of both form and 
feature in the artistic representation of the Babylonian 
and his more purely Semitic Assyrian neighbour. The 
squat, thick figure, the full, well-shaven cheeks, the 
large, almond-shaped eyes and round head of King 
Merodach-nadin-akhi in the twelfth century B.C. still 
reproduce the characteristic form and features of the 
statues found in the palace of Gudea, the Sumerian 
high-priest of Lagas, who lived more than a thousand 
years before. The aquiline or hooked nose, the thick 
lips and muscular limbs which distinguished the 
Assyrian are generally wanting in Babylonia. And, 
on the other hand, there is a likeness between the 
Babylonian as he is portrayed on the monuments 
and the Elamite adversaries of Assur-bani-pal, some 
of whom, it is noticeable, are depicted with beards, 
though the excavations of Dieulafoy and de Morgan 
at Susa have shown (according to Quatrefages and 
Hamy) that a beardless and short-nosed negrito type 
with round heads was aboriginal in Elam. The same 
type is reproduced in one of the heads found at Tello, 
and M. de Morgan has pointed out that similar 
brachycephalic and beardless negritos are represented 
on the monuments of Naram-Sin as serving in the 
army of Akkad. 1 We may conclude, therefore, that 
they still formed a part of the population of Northern 
Babylonia even in the age when it had passed com- 

1 Mi moires de la Delegation en Perse, i. pp. 152-3. Photo- 
graphs of the two types — Sumerian and Semitic — represented 
on the early monuments of Babylonia are given by Dr. Pinches 
in an interesting Paper in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society ; January 1900, pp. 87-93. 


pletely under Semitic rule. Indeed, Dr. Pinches has 
shown that the pure Semitic type is not depicted in 
Babylonian art, outside the kingdom of Akkad, 
"before the time of the First dynasty of Babylon, 
which began to reign about B.C. 2300." 

It has often been maintained that the Sumerians 
themselves were an immigrant people, who had 
descended from the mountains of Elam. There is 
nothing unreasonable in the supposition ; it was 
always difficult to prevent the mountaineers of Elam 
from making raids in Babylonia, and one of their 
tribes succeeded in settling in the country and 
establishing at Babylon one of the longest-lived of 
its dynasties. But the supposition mainly rests upon 
two facts. The pictorial hieroglyphs out of which 
the cuneiform characters have developed had no 
special sign for " river," while the same character re- 
presented both "mountain" and "country." It would 
seem, therefore, that the land in which the cuneiform 
system of writing was first invented was just the 
converse of the Babylonian plain, being at once 
mountainous and riverless. That the same character 
means both " mountain " and " country " is no doubt 
a strong argument in favour of the Elamite origin 
of Babylonian civilization. That the use of the 
primitive hieroglyphs should have survived in Elam 
while it was lost in Babylonia, as M. de Morgan's 
discoveries have shown to be the case, is also another 
fact which may perhaps be claimed on the same 
side ; at any rate it indicates that they were known 
to the Elamites before the cursive cuneiform had 
developed out of them. But the want of a special 
character for " river" is not so decisive as it appears at 


first sight to be. The word "river" is represented by 
two ideographic signs which literally signify "the 
watery deep," and so point to the fact that those who 
originally invented them lived not in the highlands 
of the East, but on the shores of that Persian Gulf 
which the Babylonians of the historic period still 
called " the deep." As it was also known as " the 
salt river," it is not difficult to understand how, to 
those whose experience of navigable water had 
been confined to the Persian Gulf, the Tigris and 
Euphrates would have seemed but repetitions of the 
Gulf on a smaller scale. 1 

The rise of Sumerian culture on the shores of 
the Persian Gulf is in accordance with Babylonian 
tradition. Babylonian myths told how Oannes or Ea, 
the god of culture, had risen each morning out of his 
palace in "the deep," bringing with him the elements 
of civilization which he communicated to mankind. 
Letters, science and art had all been his gifts. He 
had instructed the wild tribes of the coast to build 
houses and erect temples ; he had compiled for 
them the first law-book, and had instructed them in 
the mysteries of agriculture. Babylonian civilization 
was sea-born. The system of cosmology which 
finally won its way to acceptance with the priesthood 
and philosophers of Babylonia was one which had 
been first conceived at Eridu, the site of which is 
now more than a hundred miles distant from the 

1 It is noticeable that the script of the other people whose 
civilization grew up on the banks of a river, the Egyptians 
namely, contains no special ideograph for "river." The word 
is expressed by the phonetically-written atur, with the determin- 
ative of "water'' or "irrigation basin." As in the primitive 
hieroglyphs of Babylonia, " the sea " was a " circle." 


sea, but in the early days of Babylonian history, 
before the silting up of the shore, had been its sea- 
port. Here the first man Adam 1 was supposed to 
have lived, and to have spent his time fishing in 
the waters of the Gulf. The whole earth was believed 
to have grown out of a primeval deep like the mud- 
flats which the inhabitants of Eridu saw slowly 
emerging from the retreating sea. Philosophy and 
cosmology, with the theology with which they were 
associated, looked back upon Eridu and the Baby- 
lonian coast as their primeval home. 2 

In fact the physical conditions of the Babylonian 
plain rendered it impossible for the first culture of 
the country to have sprung up in it. Before it was 
reclaimed by engineering skill and labour the larger 
part of it had been a pestiferous marsh. The science 
needed for making it habitable, at least by civilized 
man, must have arisen outside its boundaries. Only 
when he was already armed with a civilization which 
enabled him to dig canals, to mould bricks, and pile 
his houses and temples on artificial foundations could 
the Sumerian have settled in the Babylonian plain 
and there developed it still further. The cities of the 
plain grew up each round its sanctuary, which became 
a centre of civilization and progress, of agriculture 
and trade. But the builders of the sanctuaries must 
have brought their culture with them from elsewhere. 

Of these sanctuaries the most venerable was that of 
Bel the Elder at Nippur. It has been systematically 
excavated by the Americans down to its founda- 

1 For proof of this reading see Expository Times, xvii. p. 416 
and note infra, p. 91. 
2 See my Religions oj Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, pp. 373-84. 


tions, and the successive strata of its history laid bare. 
Inscribed objects have been found in all the strata, 
carrying the history of the cuneiform system of writing 
back to the days when the temple was originally built. 
But it is still the cuneiform system of writing as far 
back as we can go, that is to say the characters are 
the cursive forms of earlier hieroglyphic pictures, the 
features of which are in most cases scarcely traceable. 
Here and there, it is true, the primitive pictorial form 
has been preserved, but this is the exception and not 
the rule. As a rule the earliest writing found at 
Nippur, and coeval with the foundation of its temple, 
is already the degenerated and cursive hand which 
we call cuneiform. 

The fact is very noteworthy. The cuneiform char- 
acters have assumed the shapes which give them their 
name owing to their having been inscribed on clay by 
a stylus of wood or metal, which obliged the writer 
to substitute a series of wedge-like indentations for 
curves and straight lines. As time went on, the 
number of the wedges was reduced, the forms of the 
characters were simplified, and the resemblance to the 
pictures they were once intended to represent became 
more and more indistinct. The cuneiform script is, 
in short, a running hand, like the hieratic of Egypt. 
But whereas in Egypt the hieratic running hand 
does not come into common use until long after 
the beginning of the monumental period, while the 
pictorial hieroglyphs continued to be employed to 
the last, in Babylonia the cuneiform running hand 
has superseded the primeval pictures as far back as 
our records carry us. When the temple of Nippur 
was built — and it was probably one of the first, if not 


the first, to be built in the Babylonian plain — the clay 
tablet was already in use for writing purposes, and the 
cursive cuneiform had taken the place of the older 

The Babylonian plain was called by its Sumerian 
inhabitants the Edin, or " Plain," a name which was 
borrowed by the Semites and has been made familiar 
to us by the book of Genesis. Originally it had 
meant all the uncultivated flats on either side of the 
Euphrates, but it soon acquired the sense of the 
country as opposed to the city, and so of the cultivated 
plain itself. Most of the important Babylonian cities 
were built in it between the Euphrates on the west 
and the Tigris on the east. A few only lay beyond it 
on the western bank of the Euphrates. One of these 
was Eridu, another was Ur, a third was Borsippa. 

Of Eridu I have already spoken. Some six or 
eight thousand years ago it was the sea-port of 
primitive Babylonia. 1 Ur, which stood close to it, 
seems to have been a colony of Nippur, and therefore 
of comparatively late origin. 2 Borsippa was a small 
and unimportant town, which eventually became a 
suburb of Babylon, and Babylon, on the eastern bank 
of the Euphrates, was itself a colony of Eridu. 3 
Hence of the cities which stood outside the Edin of 
Babylonia, and may therefore belong to an age when 

1 Taylor found quantities of sea-shells in its ruins {Journal of 
the Royal Asiatic Society, xv. p. 412). At the time of its found- 
ation an arm of the sea probably ran up to it from the south-east, 
though the myth of Adamu describes him as fishing each day in 
the waters of the actual Gulf, rather than in an arm of it. 

2 The Moon-god of Ur was a " son " of El-lil, the god of 

3 For proof of this see my Religion ojthe Ancient Babylonians^ 
p. 105. 



Babylonian civilization was still in its infancy, Eridu 
alone is of account. And the priority even of Eridu 
was contested. Traditionally Sippara, which is ex- 
pressly stated to have been in "the Edin," claimed 
to be the oldest of Babylonian cities ; one quarter of it 
bore the name of " Sippara that is from everlasting," 
and like Eridu, it believed itself to have been the abode 
of the first man. 1 Thus far, however, the monuments 
have given us nothing to substantiate the claim; the 
culture-god of Babylonia was Ea of Eridu, not the 
Sun-god of Sippara, and for the present, therefore, 
we must look to the shore of the Persian Gulf, 
rather than to the " land of Eden " for the cradle of 
Babylonian civilization. 

At any rate, both Sippara and Eridu were of 
Sumerian foundation, as indeed were nearly all the 
great cities of Babylonia. Eridu was a later form of 
the older Eri-dugga, "the good city," a name which 
seems to have been the starting-point of more than 
one legend. The growth of the coast to the south of 
it gives us some idea as to the age to which its 
foundation must reach back. 

1 A tablet obtained by Dr. Hayes Ward divides Sippara into 
four quarters, "Sippara of Eden," " Sippara that is from ever- 
lasting," " Sippara of the Sun-god," and " Sippara," which may 
be the " Sippara of Anunit" or "Sippara of Aruru," the creatress 
of man, of other inscriptions. Amelon or Amelu, "man," who 
corresponds with the Enos of Scripture, is said in the fragments 
of Berossus to have belonged to Pantibibla, or " Book-town," and 
since Euedoranchus of Pantibibla, the counterpart of the Biblical 
Enoch, is the monumental Enme-dhur-anki of Sippara, it is 
clear that Pantibibla is a play on the supposed signification of 
Sippara (from sipru, " a writing " or " book "). The claim to 
immemorial antiquity made on behalf of Sippara may be due 
to the fact that Akkad, the seat of the first Semitic empire, was 
either in the immediate neighbourhood of Sippara or another 
name of one of the four quarters of Sippara itself. 


It was, as I have said, the primitive sea-port of 
Babylonia, and its legend of the first man Adamu 
made him a fisherman in the Persian Gulf. Its site is 
now rather more than a hundred miles distant from 
the present line of coast. The progress of alluvial 
deposit brought down by the Euphrates and Tigris can 
be estimated by the fact that forty-seven miles of it 
have been formed since Spasinus Charax, the modern 
Mohammerah, was built in the age of Alexander 
the Great, and was for a time the port of Chaldsea. 
During the last 2000 years, accordingly, the rate of 
deposit would seem to have been about 115 feet a 
year. This, however, does not agree with the observa- 
tions of Loftus, who made the rate not more than a 
mile in every seventy years, 1 while on the other hand 
Sir Henry Rawlinson adduced reasons for believing it 
to have been more rapid in the past than it is to-day, 
and that consequently the rate must once have been 
as much as a mile in thirty years. 2 It is desirable 

1 Chaldcea and Susiana, p. 282. 

2 Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, xxvii. p. 1 86. 
Rawlinson calculated the rate of advance from that made by the 
Babylonian Delta between 1793 an d 1833. In the age of Strabo 
and Arrian the Tigris and Euphrates were not yet united, while 
in the time of Nearchus (B.C. 335) the mouth of the Euphrates 
was 345 miles from Babylon. De Morgan calculates that 
between the age of Nearchus and that of Sennacherib, when the 
Euphrates had not yet joined the more rapid Tigris, the rate of 
increase must have been much slower than it is to-day and have 
not exceeded eighty metres a year. In the age of Sennacherib 
Eridu was already seventy miles distant from the coast (de 
Morgan, Metnoires de la Delegation en Perse, i. pp. 5-23). 
The distance from the Shatt el-Arab (the united stream of the 
Tigris and Euphrates) to the end of the alluvium in the Persian 
Gulf is 277 kilometres, or 172 miles. Some idea of the appear- 
ance of the coast in the Abrahamic age may be gained from the 
map of the world drawn by a Babylonian tourist in the time of 


that some competent geologist should study the 
question on the spot. Taking, however, as a basis of 
calculation, the one known fact of the rate of growth 
since the foundation of Spasinus Charax, and bearing 
in mind that before the junction of the Tigris and 
Euphrates the rate of advance must have been 
comparatively slow, we should have to go back to 
about B.C. 5000 as the latest date at which Eridu 
could still have been the sea-port of the country. 

Was it here that the system of writing which was 
so closely entwined with the origin of Babylonian 
civilization was first invented ? Babylonian tradition 
in later days certainly believed that such was the case, 
and the fact that Ea of Eridu was the culture-god of 
Babylonia is strongly in its favour. But there are 
difficulties in the way. Eridu was the home of the 
" white witchcraft " of early Chaldaea ; it was here 
that the charms and incantations were composed 
which gave the priesthood of Eridu its influence, and 
made the god they worshipped the impersonation of 
wisdom. The belief that he was the originator of 
Babylonian culture may have had its source in the 
system of magic which was associated with his name. 
Eridu was built on the Semitic side of the Euphrates, 
and the Semitic tribes who received their letters and 
their civilization from the Sumerians of Eridu would 
naturally have looked upon the city of their teachers 
as the primeval home of Sumerian culture. The 
traditions that made Eridu the starting-point of 
Sumerian civilization could thus be explained away, 

Khammu-rabi which I have published in the Expository Times, 
November 1906. 



and we should be left free to settle the question of its 
origin upon purely archaeological evidence. 

Unfortunately the site of Eridu has not yet been 
systematically excavated. Once again the archaeo- 
logical materials for settling an archaeological ques- 
tion are not at hand, and we are thrown back upon an 
examination of the picture-writing from which the 
cuneiform characters are derived. Here the evidence 
on the whole may be said to be in favour of tradition. 
It is true that there is no special ideograph for " river," 
but there is one for " the deep," and " the spirit of the 
deep " must have been a chief object of worship at the 
time when the primitive hieroglyphs were first formed. 
The " ship," too, played a prominent part in the life of 
their inventors, and the picture of it represented it as 
moved not by oars but by a sail. 1 The flowering 
reed was equally prominent, and was even used to 
symbolize what stood firm and established. 2 Houses, 
fortresses, temples, and cities were built of brick, 
and vases were moulded out of clay. 3 The tablet, 
rectangular or square, was already employed for the 
purpose of writing, but as it was provided with a 

1 There is a striking resemblance between the primitive 
Babylonian picture of a boat and the sailing boat depicted on 
the prehistoric pottery of Egypt, for which last see Capart, Les 
Debuts de FArt en Egypte, p. 1 16. 

2 Perhaps, however, this was really due to the accidental 
similarity of sound between gz, "a reed," and gin, "to be 

3 The various forms of vases represented in the early 
pictography are given by de Morgan in a very instructive 
article, " Sur les procedes techniques en usage chez les scribes 
babyloniens," in the Recueil des Travaux relatifs a la Philologie 
et a FArche'ologie e'gyptiennes et assyrie tines, xxvii. 3, 4 (1905). 
Among special vases were those for oil, wine and honey. The 
butter or oil jar was closed with a clay sealing exactly like those 
of early Egypt. Vases with spouts were also used. 


handle or a couple of rings at the top, 1 think it was 
more probably of wood than of clay. The sheep, 
goat and ox were domesticated, 1 and so also probably 
was the ass, 2 and corn was cultivated in the fields. 
The symbol of the " earth " appears to have been the 
picture of an island of circular or elliptical form. 
Among trees the cedar was well known. 

All this points to the sea-coast of Babylonia as the 
district in which its civilization first arose. But on 
the other hand, there is the fact that "country" and 
" mountain " are alike represented by the picture of a 
mountainous land. There is also the fact that the 
land in which the inventors of the hieroglyphs lived 
was one in which copper, gold and silver were pro- 
curable — perhaps also meteoric iron ; and the further 
fact that hard wood was sufficiently plentiful for tools 
or weapons to have been made of it before the employ- 
ment of metal. That they should have been made of 
wood, however, and not of stone, is a strong argument 
in favour of the Babylonian coast. 

It is on wood, moreover, that the first hieroglyphs 
must have been painted or cut. Many of them repre- 
sented round objects or were formed of curved lines, 
which were transformed into a series of wedge-like 
indentations when imprinted by a stylus upon clay. 
We know, therefore, that clay was not the original 
writing material ; its use as such, in fact, is coeval 
with the rise of that cursive script which, in the case 

1 The American excavations at Askabad have shown that the 
domestication of animals, including the camel, took place during 
the neolithic age, the goat being one of the last to be tamed. 

2 This, however, is not absolutely certain, since the ideograph 
which denotes an "ass" originally signified merely "a yoked 


of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, is called hieratic, but 
in Assyro-Babylonian is known as cuneiform. It 
was the attempt to reproduce the old pictures upon 
clay that created the cuneiform characters. As metal 
is not likely to have been employed by the primitive 
scribes of Chaldaea, and there is no trace of stone 
having been used — even the stone cylinder of later 
days being called a dup-sar or " written tablet " — we 
are left to choose between wood and papyrus. In 
favour of papyrus is the fact that the circular forms of 
so many of the pictures suggest that they were 
originally painted rather than engraved ; on the other 
hand, it is doubtful whether the papyrus grows in the 
Babylonian rivers, or at any rate did so in the 
prehistoric age. And the pictograph of a "written 
document " is not a strip or roll of papyrus, as in 
Egypt, but a tablet with a handle or loop. It is true 
that the primeval picture which denoted "copper" 
has much the same form, but as even cutting instru- 
ments had the determinative of " wood " attached to 
them in the early picture writing, it is clear that the 
original tablet could not have been of metal, whatever 
might have been the case with its later successors. 
The picture, moreover, of the " tablet " is distinguished 
from that of a " plate of bronze " by the addition of a 
string which is tied to the handle. 

On the whole, therefore, the only archaeological 
evidence available at present is on the side of the 
tradition which made Babylonian culture move north- 
ward from the coast. The only fact against it of 
which I know is that, as I have already stated, the 
word for land was symbolized by the picture of a 
triple mountain. But this fact is not insuperable. 


Before the silting up of the shore, the old coast-line of 
Babylonia would have stretched away north-eastward 
of Eridu towards the mountains of Elam. Whether 
the mountains that fringed what would then have 
been the eastern coast of the Persian Gulf are visible 
from the site of Eridu, I do not know ; if the clear 
light of Upper Egypt exists there they would be so. 
Nor do I know whether on the western side there are 
mountain ranges visible in Arabia ; these are points 
which can be cleared up only when the country has 
been thoroughly explored. 

Eridu lay five miles southward of Ur, 1 that " Ur of 
the Chaldees " from which Hebrew history affirmed 
the ancestor of the nation had come. Ur was never a 
maritime port like Eridu ; it stood on the Arabian 
plateau and looked towards the west. Its face was 
turned to the Semitic rather than to the Sumerian 
world. From the first, therefore, it must have been in 
touch with Semitic tribes. And a curious reminiscence 
of the fact survived in the western Semitic languages. 
Ur or Uru signifies " the city " ; it was a Sumerian 
word, another form of which was eri. The word was 
borrowed by the Semites, and in the Hebrew of the 
Old Testament, accordingly, the idea of "city" is 
expressed by l ir. The Assyrians of the north, whose 
vocabulary was otherwise so full of Sumerian loan- 
words, preferred the native dlu, " a tent," to which the 
meaning of "city" was assigned when Sumerian 
culture had been passed on to the Semitic race and 
the tent had been exchanged for the city. The history 
of the word is a history of early culture as well. 

But I am far from saying that it was through Ur that 
1 Peters, Nippur, ii. p. 299. 


the civilization of Sumer came to be handed on to its 
Semitic neighbours. On the contrary, such facts as 
there are point in a different direction. Western 
Semites, whom linguistically we may call Arabs or 
Aramaeans, or Canaanites or Hebrews, doubtless 
mingled with the Sumerian population of Ur, and 
adopted more or less of its manners and civilization, 
but it was further north, in the Babylonian Eden 
itself, that the Semite first came under the influence 
of the higher culture, and soon outstripped his masters 
in the arts of life. 

The entrance of the Semitic element into Babylonia 
is at present one of the most obscure of problems. 
All we can be sure of are certain main facts. First 
of all, as we have seen, the early culture of Babylonia, 
including so integral a part of it as the script, was of 
Sumerian origin. So, too, were the great cities and 
sanctuaries of the country, as well as the system of 
irrigation engineering which first made it habitable. 
Sumerian long continued to be the language of 
theology and law ; indeed a large part of the Baby- 
lonian pantheon of later days was frankly non-Semitic. 
As was inevitable under such conditions, the Assyrian 
language contained an immense number of words — 
many of them compound — which were borrowed from 
the older language, and its idioms and grammar 
equally showed signs of Sumerian influence. I have 
sometimes been tempted, from a scientific point of 
view, to speak of Semitic Babylonian as a mixed 

On the other hand, if the elements of Babylonian 
civilization were Sumerian, the superstructure was 
Semitic. When the Semites entered into the heritage 


of Sumerian culture, the cuneiform script must have 
still been in a very inchoate and immature state. Its 
pictorial ancestry must still have been clear, and no 
scruples were felt about altering or adding to the 
characters. The phonetic application of the characters, 
which was still in its initial stage in the Sumerian 
period, was developed and carried to perfection by 
the Semitic scribes, and a very considerable propor- 
tion of their values and ideographic meanings is of 
Semitic derivation. The theological system was 
transformed, and a new literature and a new art 
came into existence. As Sumerian words had been 
borrowed by the Semites, so, too, Semitic words were 
borrowed by the Sumerians, and it is possible that 
examples of them may occur in some of the 
oldest Sumerian texts known to us. 1 The Baby- 
lonians of history, in short, were a mixed people; 
and their culture and language were mixed like 
our own. 

This, then, is one main fact. A second is that the 
Semitic element first comes to the front in the 
northern part of Babylonia. It is in Akkad, and not 
in Sumer, that the first Semitic Empire — that of 
Sargon the Elder, B.C. 3800 — had its seat, and old as 
that empire is, it presupposes a long preceding period 
of Semitic settlement and advance in power and 
civilization. The cuneiform system of writing is 
already complete and has ceased to be Sumerian, 

1 Thus in the great historical inscription of Entemena, King 
of Lagas (B.C. 4000), M. Thureau Dangin is probably right 
in seeing in datn-kha-ra (col. i. 26) a Semitic word. In fact 
where a word is written syllabically, that is to say phonetically, 
in a Sumerian text there is an a priori probability that it is a 


archive-chambers of Semitic literature are founded, 
and Semitic authority is firmly established from Susa 
in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. Art is 
no longer Sumerian, and in the hands of the Semitic 
subjects of Saigon and his son Naram-Sin has reached 
a perfection which in certain directions was never 
afterwards surpassed. The engraved seal-cylinders 
of the period are the finest that we possess. Naturally 
the Semitic language has superseded the Sumerian in 
official documents, and the physical type as repre- 
sented on the monuments is also distinctly Semitic. 
At the beginning of the fourth millennium before our 
era, the civilization and culture of Northern Babylonia 
have thus ceased to be Sumerian, and the sceptre has 
fallen into the hands of a Semitic race. 

But there is a third fact. The displacement of the 
Sumerian by the Semite was the case only in Northern 
Babylonia. In the south, in the land of Sumer, the 
older population continued to be dominant. Sumerian 
dynasties continued to rule there from time to time, 
and the old agglutinative language continued to be 
spoken. When a West-Semitic dynasty governed 
the country about B.C. 2200, state proclamations and 
similar official documents had still to be drawn up in 
the two languages, Semitic Babylonian and Sumerian. 
Sumerian did not become extinct till a later day. 
Indeed, after the fall of the empire of Sargon of Akkad 
there seems to have been a Sumerian reaction. While 
Susa was lost to the Semites and became the capital 
of a non-Semitic people who spoke an agglutinative 
language, the power of the Sumerian princes in 
Southern Babylonia appears to have revived. At all 
events even the dynasty which followed that of the 





[To face p. 88. 


West-Semites bore Sumerian names. 1 It was only 
under the foreign domination of the Kassites, 
apparently, who governed Babylonia for nearly 600 
years, that the Sumerian element finally became 
merged in the Semitic and the Babylonian of later 
history was born. 

The last fact is that while what we call Assyrian 
is Semitic Babylonian with a few dialectal variations, 
it stands apart from the other Semitic languages. A 
scientific comparison of its grammar with those of the 
sister-tongues leads us to believe that it represents 
one of the two primeval dialects of the Semitic 
family of speech, the other dialect being that which 
subsequently split up into the varying dialects of 
Canaanite or Hebrew, Arabic, South-Arabic and 
Aramaean — or, adopting the genealogical form of 
linguistic relationship, Assyro-Babylonian would have 
been one daughter of the primitive parent-speech, 
while the other daughter comprised the remaining 
Semitic languages. 2 There are two conclusions to be 
drawn from this; one is that the Babylonian Semites 
must have separated from their kinsfolk and come 
under Sumerian influence at a very early period, the 
other that they moved northward, along the banks of 
the Tigris into Assyria. 

With these two inferences we have to be content. 
Upon the first home of the Semitic race or its 
affinities with other branches of the white race, 

1 This may of course have been only a literary archaism. 
But if the kings were really of Semitic origin, it is difficult to 
understand why they should have been ashamed of being called 
by their native Semitic names. 

2 See Hommel, Grundriss der Geographic und Geschichte 
des Alien Orients, i. pp. 79-82. 


Babylonia can naturally throw no light. The earliest 
glimpses we catch of the Semites of Babylonia are 
those of a people who have already come under the 
influences of Sumerian civilization, who are mingling 
with their teachers and helping with them to build 
up the stately edifice of historical Babylonia. There 
were ruder Semitic tribes, it is true, who continued 
to live their own nomad life on the western bank of 
the Euphrates or in the marshes that bordered the 
Persian Gulf. But like the Bedawin of to-day on the 
outskirts of Egypt they were little, if at all, affected 
by the civilization at their sides. They remained the 
same wild savages of the desert as their descendants 
who encamp in the swamps of modern Babylonia; 
they neither traded nor tilled the ground, and the 
language they spoke was not the same as that of their 
Babylonian kindred. They served, however, as the 
herdsmen and shepherds of their Babylonian neigh- 
bours, and the vast flocks whose wool was so 
important an article of Babylonian trade, were en- 
trusted to their care. But Bedawin they were born, 
and Bedawin they continued to be. 

Even the Aramaean tribes of the coast-land kept 
apart from the Babylonians, whether Sumerian or 
Semitic, until the day when one of their tribes, the 
Kalda or Chaldeans, made themselves masters of 
Babylon under their prince Merodach-baladan, and 
from henceforward became an integral factor in the 
Babylonian population. They must have settled on 
the borders of Babylonia at a comparatively late date, 
when Semitic Babylonian had definitely marked 
itself off from its sister-tongues and the Babylonian 
Semite had acquired distinctive characteristics of his 


own. The West-Semitic elements in the population 
of Babylonia could have entered the country only 
long after the mixture of Sumerian and Semite had 
produced the Babylonian of history. 

The Babylonian of history came to forget that he 
had ever had another fatherland than the Babylonian 
plain, the Eden of the Old Testament, the land whose 
southern border was formed by " the salt river " or 
Persian Gulf of early Sumerian geography, with its 
four branches which were themselves " heads." Here 
the first man Adamu x had been created in Eridu, 
" the good city," and here therefore the Babylonian 
Semite placed the home of the first ancestor of his 
race. But it was a borrowed belief, borrowed along 
with the other elements of Babylonian culture, and no 
argument can be drawn from it as to the actual 
cradle of the Semitic race. Like the story of the 
deluge, it was part of the Sumerian heritage into 
which the Semite had entered. 

1 Hitherto read A-da-pa. But the character PA had the 
value of mu when it signified "man," according to a tablet 
quoted by Fossey, Contribution au Dictionnaire Sumirien- 
assyrienne, No. 2656, and in writing early Babylonian names or 
words the characters with the requisite phonetic values were 
selected which harmonized ideographically with the sense of 
the words. Thus out of the various characters which had the 
phonetic value of mu that was chosen which denoted " man " 
when the name of the first man was needed to be written. The 
Semitic Adamu, which M. Thureau Dangin has found used as 
a proper name in tablets from Tello of the age of Sargon of 
Akkad, was borrowed from the Sumerian adatn, which signified 
"animal," and then, more specifically "man." Thus in the 
bilingual story of the creation we have (1. 9) uru nu-dim adam 
nu-mun-ya, " a city was not built, a man was not made to stand 
upright," and a list of slaves published by Dr. Scheil {Recueil 
de Travaux, etc., xx. p. 65) is dated in "the year when Rim- 
Anum the king (conquered) the land of . . . bi and its inhabitants" 
(adam-bi). See above, p. 76. 


The Semitic tradition which made the first man a 
tiller of the ground may also have been borrowed 
from the earlier inhabitants of Babylonia. At all 
events it is significant that the garden in which he 
was placed was in the land of Eden, and that the 
picture of a garden or plantation is one of the 
primitive hieroglyphs of Sumer. The beginnings of 
Babylonian civilization were bound up with the 
cultivation of the Babylonian soil ; the reclamation 
of the great alluvial plain was at once the effect 
and the cause of Sumerian culture. Sumerian cul- 
ture, in fact, was at the outset essentially that of 
an agricultural people. 

Trade would have come later, when Eridu had 
become a seaport, and ships ventured on the waters 
of the Persian Gulf. It grew up under the shelter 
of the great sanctuaries. Supported at first by the 
labour of their serfs, the priests in time came to 
exchange their surplus revenues — the wool of their 
sheep, the wheat and sesame of their fields, or the 
wine yielded by their palms — for other commodities, 
and the temples themselves formed safe and capacious 
store-houses in which such goods could be kept. In 
the historical period Babylonia is already a great 
trading community, and as the centuries passed trade 
absorbed more and more the energies of its popula- 
tion, agriculture fell into the background, and the 
Babylonia conquered by Cyrus could be described 
with truth as "a nation of shopkeepers." Even the 
crown prince was a merchant who dealt in wool. 1 

The increasing preponderance of trade goes along 
with the increasing preponderance of the Semitic 
1 Records of the Fast, New Series, iii. pp. 124-7. 


element in the country, and it is tempting to sup- 
pose that there was a connection between the two. 
At present, however, there is no positive evidence 
that such was the case. Nor is there any positive 
evidence that the Semites who settled in Babylonia 
were not already agriculturists. The circumstances 
in which a people lives are mainly responsible 
for its being agricultural or pastoral, and the fact 
that the Bedawin neighbours of the Babylonians on 
the western side of the Euphrates remained a pastoral 
race does not exclude the possibility that there were 
other branches of the Semitic family who had already 
passed out of the pastoral into the agricultural stage 
before coming into contact with the Sumerians. On 
the other hand, it is at least noticeable that in Semitic 
Babylonian the usual word for " city " continued to 
be one which properly meant a " tent " — the home of 
the pastoral nomad — and that no Semitic traditions 
have come down to us of the beginnings of agri- 
cultural life outside the limits of the Babylonian 
" Plain." The title of " Shepherd," moreover, was 
at times given to the Babylonian kings in days 
subsequent to the Semitic Empire of Sargon of 
Akkad. So far as our materials allow us to judge, 
city-life was the gift of the Sumerian to the primitive 
Semitic nomad. 1 

To the Semite, however, I believe I have shown 
in my Lectures on Babylonian religion, 2 we must 
ascribe an important theological conception. In 

1 Erech was one of the earliest of the Semitic settlements in 
the Babylonian plain, and Erech was known later as 'supuru, 
" the sheepfold," as is shown by its ideographic equivalent. 

2 The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, pp. 276- 


historical Babylonia the gods were conceived of in 
the form of man. Man was created in the image 
of God because the gods themselves were men. But 
the conception cannot be traced back further than 
the age when the Sumerians and Semites came into 
contact with one another. In pre-Semitic Sumer there 
are no anthropomorphic gods. We hear, instead, of 
the zi or " spirit," a word properly signifying " life " 
which manifested itself in the power of motion. All 
things that moved were possessed of life, and there 
was accordingly a " life " or " spirit " of the water 
as well as of man or beast. In place of the divine 
" lord of heaven " whom the Semites adored there 
was " a spirit of heaven " ; in place of Ea, the later 
Babylonian god of the deep, there was "a spirit of 
the abyss." Sumerian theology, in fact, was still on 
the level of animism, and the inventors of the script 
represented the idea of " god " by the picture of 
a star. Vestiges of the old animism can still be 
detected even in the later cult : by the side of the 
human gods an Assyrian prayer invokes the moun- 
tains, the rivers and the winds, and from time to 
time we come across a worship of deified towns. It 
was the town itself that was divine, not the deity 
to whom its chief temple was dedicated. So, again, 
the god or goddess continued to be symbolized by 
some sacred animal or object whose figure appears 
upon seals and boundary-stones, and in some cases 
we learn that the Sumerian prototypes of the later 
Babylonian divinities bore such names as "the 
gazelle," "the antelope" or "the bull." 

With the advent of the Semite all is changed. 
The gods have become men and women with in- 


tensified powers and the gift of immortality, but in 
all other respects they live and act like the men and 
women of this nether world. Like them, too, they 
are born and married, and the court of the early 
prince finds its counterpart in the divine court of 
the supreme Bel, or " Lord." The Semitic god of 
Babylon was " lord of gods " and men, of heaven 
and earth ; Assur of Assyria was " king of the 
gods " and lord of " the heavenly hosts." 

It was natural that, corresponding with this lord 
of the heavenly hosts, there should be a lord of the 
hosts of earth, and that as the divine king was clothed 
in the attributes of man, the human king should take 
upon him the divine nature. Like the Pharaohs of 
Egypt or the emperors of Rome, the early kings 
of Semitic Babylonia were deified. And the deifi- 
cation took place during their life-time, — in fact, so 
far as we can judge, upon their accession to the 
throne. In the eyes of their subjects they were 
incarnate deities, and in their inscriptions they give 
themselves the title of god. One of them is even 
called " the god " of Akkad, his capital. 1 

Here, then, in the conception of the divine, we 
have a clear dividing line between the Semite and 
his non-Semitic predecessor. So far back as the 
cuneiform monuments allow us to carry his history, 
the Semite is anthropomorphic. As a consequence, 
the gods he worships conform to the social conditions 
under which he lives. In the desert the sacred stone 
becomes " the temple of the god " ; in the organized 
monarchy of Babylonia each deity takes his appointed 

1 See my Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, pp. 
276-89, 348-61. 


place in an imperial court. Under the one supreme 
ruler there are princes and sub-princes, vice-regents 
and generals, while angel-messengers carry the com- 
mands of Bel to his subjects on earth, like the 
messengers who carried the letters of the Babylonian 
king along the high-roads of the empire. On the 
other hand, the earthly king receives his power and 
attributes from the god whose adopted son and repre- 
sentative he claims to be. Nowhere has " the divine 
right of kings" been more fully insisted on than in 
ancient Babylonia. The laws of the monarch had 
to be obeyed, foreign nations had to become his 
vassals, because he was a god on earth as the supreme 
Bel was god in heaven. 

But the reflection of the divine upon the human 
brought with it not only the exaltation of sovereignty, 
but also the rise of a priesthood. There were priests 
of a sort in Sumer of whom many different classes are 
enumerated. But when we examine the signification 
of the names attached to them we find that they were 
not priests in the true sense of the word. They were 
rather magicians, sorcerers, wizards, masters of charms. 
They do not develop into priests until after the Semite 
has entered upon the scene. The god and the priest 
make their appearance together. 

I do not think, however, that we are justified in 
concluding that the elaborate hierarchy of Babylonia 
was of purely Semitic origin. On the contrary, like 
the theological system with which it was associated, it 
was a composite product. Behind the gods and god- 
desses of Semitic Babylonia lay the primitive " spirits " 
and fetishes of Sumer ; its mythology and cosmo- 
logical theories rested on Sumerian foundations ; and 


in the same way the priestly hierarchy was the result 
of a racial amalgamation in which the Semitic element 
had adopted and adapted the ideas and institutions of 
the older people. We do not find the theology and 
priesthood of Babylonia among other Semitic popula- 
tions, except where they had been borrowed from the 
Babylonians (as in Assyria) ; in the form in which 
we know them they were peculiarly and distinctively 
Babylonian. Like the language of Semitic Babylonia, 
which is permeated with Sumerian elements, or the 
script, which is a Semitic adaptation of the Sumerian 
system of writing, they presuppose a mixture of race. 
The priesthood eventually proved irreconcilable 
with "the divine right" of the monarch, though both 
alike had the same origin. The priests prevailed over 
the king, and as in England the doctrine of divine 
right was unable to survive the accession of a German 
line of princes, so in Babylonia the accession of a 
foreign, non-Semitic dynasty (that of the Kassites) 
dealt a death-blow to the belief in a deified king. 
The king became merely the representative and 
deputy of the divine " Lord " of heaven, deriving his 
right to rule from his adoption by the god as a son ; 
Bel-Merodach came to be regarded as the true ruler of 
Babylonia, lord of the earth as well as of the heavens, 
and a theocratic state affords but little room for a 
secular king. The priests of Bel decided whom their 
god should recognize or not, and little by little the 
controlling power of the state passed into their hands 
It was in a sense a triumph for the non-Semitic 
element in the population. While the deification of 
the sovereign may be said to have been purely Semitic 
in its origin, the necessary corollary of an anthro- 



pomorphic conception of the deity, the supernatural 
powers supposed to be inherent in the priesthood went 
back to Sumerian times. It was because he had once 
been a master of spells that the priest of the anthro- 
pomorphic god could influence the spiritual world. 
The final triumph of the theocratic principle in Baby- 
lonia, where the Semite had been so long dominant, 
showed that the old racial element was still strong, 
and ready to reassert itself when the favourable 
moment arrived. Such, indeed, is generally the history 
of a mixed people : the conquering or immigrant race 
may seem to have suppressed or absorbed the earlier 
population of the country, but as generations pass the 
foreign element becomes weaker, and the nation in 
greater or less degree reverts to the older type. 


So far as the primitive culture of Sumer may be 
recovered from such of the primitive pictographs as can 
be at present identified, it may be described as follows. 
The inventors of them lived on the sea-coast within 
sight of mountains, but in a marshy district where reeds 
abounded. Trees also grew there, and the cedar was 
known. Stone was scarce, but was already cut into 
blocks and seals. Tablets were used for writing pur- 
poses, and copper, gold and silver were worked by the 
smith. Daggers with metal blades and wooden handles 
were worn, and copper was hammered into plates, while 
necklaces or collars were made of gold. Brick was 
the ordinary building material, and with it cities, forts, 
temples and houses were constructed. The city was 
provided with towers and stood on an artificial plat- 


form ; the house also had a tower-like appearance. It 
was provided with a door which turned on a hinge, 
and could be opened with a sort of key ; the city gate 
was on a larger scale, and seems to have been double. 
By the side of the house was an enclosed garden planted 
with trees and other plants ; wheat and probably 
other cereals were sown in the fields, and the shaduf 
was already employed for the purpose of irrigation. 
Plants were also grown in pots or vases. That floods 
took place is evident from the existence of a picto- 
graph denoting "inundation," and representing a fish 
left stranded above the foliage of a tree. Canals or 
aqueducts had already been dug. The sheep, goat, 
ox and probably ass had been domesticated, the ox 
being used for draught, and woollen clothing as well as 
rugs were made from the wool or hair of the two first. 
A feathered head-dress was worn on the head. Beds, 
stools and chairs were used, with carved legs resembling 
those of an ox. There were fire-places and fire-altars, 
and apparently chimneys also. Pottery was very 
plentiful, and the forms of the vases, bowls and dishes 
were manifold ; there were special jars for honey, 
butter, oil and wine, which was probably made from 
dates, and one form of vase had a spout protruding 
from its side. Some of the vases had pointed feet, 
and stood on stands with crossed legs ; others were 
flat-bottomed, and were set on square or rectangular 
frames of wood. The oil-jars — and probably others 
also — were sealed with clay, precisely as in early 
Egypt. Vases and dishes of stone were made in 
imitation of those of clay, and baskets were woven of 
reeds or formed of leather. Knives, drills, wedges and 
an instrument which looks like a saw were all known, 


while bows, arrows and daggers (but not swords nor, 
probably, spears) were employed in war. Time was 
reckoned in lunar months. Sacred cakes were offered 
to the gods, whose images were symbolized some- 
times by a bearded human head with a feather crown, 
sometimes by a two-legged table of offerings on which 
stand two vases (of incense ?). Demons were feared 
who had wings like a bird, and the foundation stones 
— or rather bricks — of a house were consecrated by 
certain objects that were deposited under them. A 
"year" was denoted by the branch of a tree, as in 
Egypt, and a " name " by a bird placed over the 
sacred table of offerings. The country was full of 
snakes and other creeping things, and wild beasts 
lurked in the jungle. The pictographs were read 
from left to right, and various expedients were devised 
for making them express ideas. Thus mud, "to 
beget," was denoted by the picture of a bird dropping 
an egg. At other times the pictograph was used to 
express an idea, the pronunciation of which was the 
same as that of the object which it represented. The 
bent knee, for example, was used to express dug or 
tuk, " to have," since it represented a " knee," which 
was called dug in Sumerian. 



In dealing with the question of origins, science is 
constantly confronted with the problem of unity or 
polygeneity. Has language one origin or many ; are 
the various races of mankind traceable to one ancestor 
or to several ? Do the older civilizations presuppose 
the same primeval starting-point, or were there 
independent centres of culture which grew up un- 
known to one another in different parts of the world ? 
Under the influences of theology the belief long 
prevailed that they were all sprung from the same 
source ; of late the tendency has been in an opposite 
direction. While the biologist has inclined to a belief 
in the unity of species, the anthropologist has seen 
reason to maintain the diversity of origin in culture. 

The two earliest civilizations with which we are 
acquainted were those of Babylonia and Egypt. To 
a certain extent the conditions under which they both 
arose were similar. They grew up alike on the banks 
of great rivers and in a warm, though not tropical, 
climate. They rested, moreover, on organized systems 
of agriculture, which again had been made possible by 
irrigation engineering. In Babylonia the first settlers 
had found a plain which was little more than a swamp, 



over which the swollen streams of the Euphrates and 
Tigris wandered at will during the annual period of 
inundation, and which needed engineering works on a 
large scale before it could be made habitable. The 
rivers had to be confined within their channels by means 
of embankments, and canals had to be cut in order to 
draw off the surplus supply of water and regulate its 
distribution to the land. While the swamp was thus 
being made possible for habitation, the population 
must have lived on the edge of the desert plateau 
which bordered it, and have there developed a 
civilization which not only produced the engineers and 
their science, but also the concentrated authority 
which enabled the science to be utilized. 

In Egypt it was the banks and delta of the Nile 
which took the place of the Babylonian plain. Recent 
discoveries have shown that in the prehistoric age, 
when the natives still lived in the desert and led a 
pastoral life, all this was a morass, the haunt of beasts 
of prey and venomous reptiles. But here again the 
swamp was rendered habitable by engineering works 
similar to those of primeval Babylonia. The swamp 
was transformed into fertile fields, the annual flood of 
the river was regulated, and an elaborate network of 
canals and embankments spread over the country. 
The pastoral nomads of the neolithic age became 
agriculturists, or were employed in constructing and 
repairing the works of irrigation, or in erecting monu- 
mental buildings for their rulers. There is evidence 
of the same centralized government, the same directing 
brain and organizing force that there is in primitive 

Is it possible that two systems of engineering science, 


so similar in their objects, their methods and their 
results, should have been invented independently in 
two different countries ? There are scholars who answer 
in the negative. But the possibility cannot be denied, 
since an even more elaborate system of irrigation was 
invented in China without any suggestion, as far as 
we know, from outside. The geographical conditions 
of Babylonia and Egypt, moreover, resemble one 
another, and the question of draining the swamps and 
regulating the overflow of the rivers once raised, the 
answer to it seems fairly obvious. By itself, therefore, 
the fact that the cultures of ancient Babylonia and 
Egypt alike rested on a similar system of irrigation 
engineering would be no proof of their common 

In some respects the problem which the Babylonian 
engineers were called upon to solve was more difficult 
than that which faced the Egyptians. The Nile is 
fed by the rains and melting snows of Abyssinia and 
Central Africa, and its annual inundation takes place 
in the later summer months. The Euphrates and 
Tigris flow from the north, from the highlands of 
Armenia, and are at their fullest in the spring. Their 
overflow accordingly comes just before the summer 
heats, when agriculture is difficult or impossible, where- 
as in Egypt the period of inundation ushers in the 
most favourable time of the year for the growth of the 
crops. What the Babylonian engineers had to do 
was not only to drain off the overflow, but also to store 
it for use at least six months later. With them it was 
a question of storage as well as of regulation. 

Those then, who believe that the engineering sciences 
of the Babylonians and Egyptians were no independent 


inventions are bound to see in Babylonia their original 
home. It would have been here that the great 
problems were solved, the practical application of 
which to the needs of Egypt would have been a 
comparatively simple matter. On the chronological 
side there would be no difficulties in such a view. Old 
as was the civilization of Egypt, the excavations in 
Babylonia have made it clear that the civilization of 
Babylonia was at least equally old. At Nippur the 
American excavators claim to have found inscribed 
remains which reach back for nearly ten thousand 
years, and though the data upon which this calculation 
is based may be disputable, it is certain that the 
earliest monuments met with are of immense age. 
And it must be remembered that they belong to a 
time when the early pictorial writing had already 
passed into a cursive script, and the plain of 
Babylonia had been a land of cultivated fields for 
unnumbered generations. 

But by itself, I repeat, the practical identity of 
engineering science in primeval Babylonia and Egypt 
is no proof that it had been learnt by the one from 
the other. If we are to fall back on the old belief 
which brought the civilized population of Egypt from 
the plain of Shinar, it must be for reasons which are 
supported by archaeological facts. If such archaeo- 
logical facts exist, the parallel systems of irrigation 
engineering will be additional evidence; alone, they 
prove nothing. 

At the outset we are met by a fact which personally 
I find it hard to explain away. The hieroglyphic 
script of Egypt has little in common with the 
primitive pictorial characters of Babylonia. Objects 


and ideas like ''the sun," " man," "number one," will 
be represented by the same pictures or symbols all 
the world over, and consequently the fact that in both 
Babylonian and Egyptian writing the sun is denoted 
by a circle and the moon by a crescent is of no 
significance whatsoever. But when we turn to less 
obvious symbols there is comparatively little similarity 
between the two forms of script. The ideograph of 
" god," for example, is a star in Babylonia, a stone axe 
and its shaft in Egypt ; " life " is represented by a 
flowering reed in the one case, by a knotted girdle in 
the other. It is true that Professor Hommel and 
others have pointed to a few coincidences like those 
between the Egyptian symbol for " foreign land " and 
the Babylonian ideograph of" country," or between the 
Egyptian and Babylonian signs for " city," " place," 
but such coincidences are rare. 1 As a rule, as soon 
as we leave the more obvious conventions of pictorial 
writing little or no connection can be traced between 
the pictorial characters of Egypt and those of 
Babylonia. As a whole the two graphic systems stand 

Nevertheless I am bound to add that it is only as a 
whole that they do so. With all the general unlikeness 
there is a curious similarity in a few — a very few — 
instances which it is difficult to interpret as merely 
the result of accident. The round circle with lines 

1 If, however, the Sumerian pictograph for " city " represents a 
tower on a mound, as seems to be the case, the identity in form 
of the Egyptian hieroglyph cannot be an accident, since both the 
tower and the artificial platform were essentially Babylonian. 
In the cursive cuneiform two separate pictographs have coalesced, 
one representing a seat, the other what appears to be a tower on 
a mound. 


inside it which denotes "a city" in Egyptian might be 
explained from the circular villages which still 
characterize Central Africa ; but then how is it that 
the ideograph for "place" in the pictorial script of 
Babylonia had precisely the same form ? That the 
word for "country" should be denoted in the 
Babylonian script by the picture of three mountain 
peaks may be due to the fact that to the Babylonian 
" country " and " mountain " were the same ; but such 
an explanation fails us in the case of the Egyptian 
hieroglyph of " foreign land," where the three peaks 
appear again, since the hieroglyph for " mountain " 
in Egyptian has but two. The picture of a seat, and 
a seat, too, of peculiar shape, represents " place " in 
Egyptian ; in Babylonian the same picture represents 
" city," thus inverting the ideographic signification of 
the picture which in Egyptian and Babylonian has 
respectively the meanings of " city " and " place." 
Between the primitive Babylonian picture of a "ship" 
and the boats depicted in the prehistoric pottery of 
Egypt, again, the resemblance is very exact, and 
Professor Hommel has pointed out to me a curious 
likeness between the original form of the Babylonian 
ideograph for " a personal name " and the ka-sign with 
the Horus-hawk above it within which the names 
of the earliest Pharaohs are inscribed. 1 Indeed the 

1 In Egyptian, however, the bird stands over a door, while in 
Babylonian it is over the two-legged stool on which two vases of 
offerings are set when it is used to denote the image of a god. 
The Sumerian pictograph for " (divine) lord " or " lady " (nin) 
is the representation of a similar vase on a mat, and thus has 
the same form as the Egyptian hotep. The Egyptian nefer, 
"good," finds its exact counterpart in the Babylonian pictograph 
of "ornament " (me-Te). The Babylonian " house," too, is given 
the same tower-like shape as the Egyptian {aha). 


learned and ingenious Munich Professor has made 
out a list of even more striking coincidences, where 
the characters agree not only in sense but also in the 
phonetic values attached to them. 1 

Here, however, we trench on another question, the 
philological position of the Egyptian language. 
Egyptian scholars to-day are practically unanimous in 
believing it to belong, more or less remotely, to the 
Semitic family of speech. The Berlin school of 
Egyptologists, who under the guidance of Professor 
Erman have made Egyptian grammar a special 
subject of investigation, are largely responsible for the 
dominance of this belief. I ought to be the last 
person in the world to protest against it, seeing that I 
maintained it years ago when the patronage of the 
Berlin Egyptologists had not yet made it fashionable. 
At the same time I confess that I cannot • follow 
the Berlin philologists to the extent to which they 
would have us go. For them the old Egyptian 
language is not related to the Semitic family of speech 
" more or less remotely," but very closely indeed. In- 
deed in their hands it becomes itself a Semitic language, 
and as a logical consequence the Egyptian script is 
metamorphosed into one of purely Semitic invention. 
But while admitting that Egyptian grammar is Semitic 
in the sense in which English grammar is Teutonic, 
the comparative philologist is bound to add that it 
contains much which cannot be reduced to a Semitic 

1 In a short Paper entitled Lexicalische Belege zu mei'nen 
Vortrag iiber die sprachliche Striking des Altccgyptischen (1895), 
in which he has attempted to draw up a list of phonetic 
equivalences between Egyptian and Sumerian. In this, how- 
ever, I am unable to follow him, as his comparisons of Egyptian 
and Sumerian words are not convincing. 


pattern. The structure, moreover, is not on the whole 
Semitic, neither is a large part of its vocabulary. And 
among the words in the lexicon which have Semitic 
affinities there are a good many which are better 
explained as the result of borrowing than as belong- 
ing to the original stratum of the language. In some 
cases they are demonstrably words which have been 
introduced into the Egyptian language at a late date ; 
in other cases it seems possible to regard them as loan- 
words from Semitic Babylonian which entered the 
language at a "pre-dynastic " epoch. Thus, qemku, 
" the wheaten loaf" which was used for offerings, is the 
Hebrew qemakh, the Babylonian qimu> and may have 
been brought into Eygpt along with the wheat which 
was first cultivated in Babylonia and still grows wild on 
the banks of the Euphrates. To what an early period 
the importation of the cereal must be referred is shown 
by its occurrence in the prehistoric graves of Upper 
Egypt. 1 

When all allowances are made, however, the fact 
remains that the Egyptian language as we know it 
was related to the Semitic family of speech. It stood 
to the latter as an elder sister, or rather as the sister 
of the parent-language which the existing Semitic 
dialects presuppose. It was not like the so-called 
Hamitic dialects of Eastern Africa, which are African 
languages Semitized, but it was itself of the same 

1 See de Morgan, Recherches sur les Origines de PEgyfite, pp. 
94, 95. According to Schweinfurth, barley, which is also found 
in the prehistoric graves of Egypt, must originally have come 
from Babylonia like the wheat. Qemku is found in the Pyramid 
texts (Maspero, Rccueil de Travaux relatifs d la Philologie et 
d P Archdologie e"gyptiennes et assyriennes, v. p. 10). Boti, 
whence the Coptic boti and the battawa or "durra cake" of 
modern Egyptian Arabic, was " durra," not " wheat." 


stock as Hebrew or Semitic Babylonian. It represents, 
however, a form of language at an earlier stage of 
development than arc any of those which we call 
Semitic, and it has, moreover, been largely influenced 
and modified by foreign languages, which we may 
term African. So extensive has this influence been 
that the Semitic element has been even more disguised 
in it than the Teutonic element is disguised in modern 
English. In leaving the soil of Asia the language of 
Egypt took upon it an African dress. 

Now though language can prove but little as regards 
race, it can prove a great deal as regards history. A 
mixed language means a mixed history, and indicates 
an intimate contact between the populations who 
spoke the languages which are represented in it. 
Egyptian grammar would not have been Semitic if 
those who imposed it upon the natives of the Nile 
had not been of Semitic descent, or at all events had 
not come from a region where the language was 
Semitic. Nor would this grammar have been modified 
by foreign admixture if a part of those who learned 
to use it had not previously been accustomed to some 
other form of speech. And since we know of no 
Semitic languages in Africa which were not brought 
from Asia, we are justified in concluding that the 
Semitic element in the Egyptian language was of 
Asiatic origin. 

But we can go yet a step further. Where two 
languages are brought into close contact, the general 
rule is that that of the stronger race prevails. The 
conqueror is less likely to learn the language of the 
conquered than the conquered are to learn the language 
of their masters. On the other hand, the negro slave 


in America became English-speaking, whereas the 
English emigrant wherever he goes preserves the 
language of his fathers. It is only where a conquering 
caste brings no women with it that it is likely to lose 
its language. 

When, therefore, we find that Old Egyptian is an 
Africanized Semitic language, we have every right 
to infer that it is because invaders brought it with 
them from Asia who were Semites either by race or 
by language. In other words, Egypt must have been 
occupied in prehistoric days by a people who came 
from the Semitic area in Asia. 

The days were prehistoric, but of the invasion 
itself history preserved a tradition. On the walls of 
the temple of Edfu it is recounted how the followers 
of Horus, the totem guide and patron deity of the 
first kings of Upper Egypt, made their way across 
the eastern desert to the banks of the Nile, and there, 
with the help of their weapons of metal, subjugated 
the older inhabitants of the valley. Battle after battle 
was fought as the invaders slowly pushed their way 
down the Nile to the Delta, establishing a forge and 
a sanctuary of Horus on every spot where a victory 
had been gained. 1 The story has come down to us 
under a disguise of euhemeristic mythology, but the 
tradition it embodies has been strikingly confirmed by 
modern discovery. The " dynastic " Egyptians, the 
Egyptians, that is to say, who founded the Egyptian 
monarchy and to whom we owe the great monuments 
of Egypt, were immigrants from the east. 

The culture of these " dynastic " Egyptians was 
built up on two solid foundations, the engineering 
1 See Maspero, ktudes de Mylhologie, ii. pp. 313 sqq. 


skill which made Egypt a land of agriculture, and a 
system of writing which made the organization of 
the government possible. The culture was at once 
agricultural and literary, and this alone marked it 
off from the culture of neolithic (or " prehistoric ") 
Egypt, which belonged to the desert rather than to 
the banks and delta of the river, and which knew 
nothing of writing. Now we have seen that there 
was one other country in the world in which a similar 
form of culture had come into existence. In Babylonia 
too we have a civilization which has as its basis the 
training of rivers for the purpose of irrigation and 
the use of a pictorial script. The civilization of 
Babylonia was, it is true, Sumerian at its outset, 
but in time it became Semitic, and expressed itself 
in a Semitic tongue. It is difficult to avoid the 
conclusion that the Semitic-speaking people who 
brought the science of irrigation and the art of 
writing to the banks of the Nile came, like the wheat 
they cultivated, from the Babylonian plain. 

There are two archaeological facts connected with 
the early culture of "dynastic" Egypt which seem to 
me to prove at any rate some kind of intercourse 
with Babylonia. No building-stone exists in the 
Babylonian plain ; it was therefore the natural home 
of the art of building in brick, and since every pebble 
was of value it was also the natural birthplace of the 
gem-cutter. Nowhere else could the use of clay as 
a writing material have suggested itself, or that of 
the inscribed stone cylinder which left its impression 
behind it when rolled over the clay. Wherever we 
have the clay tablet and the seal-cylinder we have 
evidence of Babylonian influence. 


Now recent discoveries have shown that the culture 
of the early dynastic period of Egypt is distinguished 
from that of later times by the employment of clay 
and the stone seal-cylinder. Neither the one nor the 
other could have originated in the country itself, for 
Upper Egypt (where all authenticated discoveries of 
early seal-cylinders have been made) is a land of 
stone, and the river-silt, which is mixed with sand, is 
altogether unsuited for the purpose of writing. When 
the Egyptians of the Eighteenth dynasty corresponded 
in Babylonian cuneiform with their subjects and allies 
in Asia, the clay upon which they wrote was brought 
from a distance. Moreover, the stone seal-cylinder 
of the early dynasties is an exact reproduction of the 
early seal-cylinder of Babylonia. Substitute cuneiform 
characters for the hieroglyphs and there is practically 
no difference between them in many cases. It is 
difficult to believe that such an identity of form is 
the result of accident, more especially when we 
find that, as Egyptian civilization advanced, the seal- 
cylinder became less and less like its Babylonian 
original, and finally disappeared from use altogether. 
That is to say, as the culture of the people was 
further removed from its first starting-point, and 
therefore more national, an object which never had 
any natural basis in the physical conditions of the 
country grew more and more of an anomaly, and was 
eventually superseded, first by the " button-seal " and 
then by the scarab. I see no other explanation of 
this than that it was originally introduced from 
Babylonia, and maintained itself so long in an alien 
atmosphere only because it was bound up with a 
culture which had come from the same region of the 


world. The seal-cylinder of the early Egyptian 
dynasties seems to me, apart from everything else, to 
prove the existence of some kind of " prehistoric " 
intercourse between the civilizations of the Euphrates 
and the Nile. And in this intercourse the influences 
came from Babylonia to Egypt, not from Egypt to 

The use of brick in early Egypt points in the same 
direction. While Babylonia was a land of clay, 
Upper Egypt was a land of stone, and it was as 
unnatural to invent the art of brick-making in the 
latter country as it was natural to do so in the former. 
To this day the Nubians build their cottages of 
stone ; so too do the Bedawin squatters on the east 
bank of the Nile ; it is only where the population is 
Egyptian and the influence of the old Egyptian 
civilization is still dominant that brick is employed. 
Under the Old Empire the Egyptian Pharaohs built 
even the temples of the gods of brick ; it was but 
gradually that the brick was superseded by stone. 
It was the same also in Assyria ; here too, in a land 
of stone, brick was at first the sole building material, 
and even the great brick platforms which the marshy 
soil of Babylonia had necessitated continued to be 
laid. But Assyrian culture was confessedly Baby- 
lonian in origin, and the brick edifice was therefore 
a characteristic of it. It was only by degrees that 
Assyrian architecture emancipated itself from its 
early traditions, and at first timidly, then more boldly, 
superseded the brick by stone. The example of 
Assyria throws light on that of Egypt, and as the 
Assyrian employment of brick was due to the 
Babylonian origin of its civilization, it is permissible 



to infer that the Egyptian employment of brick was 
also due to the same cause. Once more we may- 
repeat that there was early intercourse between 
Egypt and Babylonia — the land of the brick-maker — 
and that in this intercourse the prevailing influences 
came from the east. 

Such, then, is the conclusion to which the most 
recent research leads us. The " dynastic " Egyptians, 
the Egyptians of history, spoke a language which is 
related to those of the Semitic family ; their first 
kingdoms, so far as we know, were in Upper Egypt, 
and tradition brought them across the eastern desert 
to the banks of the Nile. The culture which they 
possessed was characterized by Babylonian features, 
and was therefore due either wholly or in part to 
intercourse with Babylonia. The fact that the use 
of the seal-cylinder — which, by the way, bore the 
Semitic name of khetem — should have lingered in 
the valley of the Nile to the very beginnings of the 
Middle Empire, is an indication that the period of its 
introduction could not have been very remote. The 
earliest historical monuments which have been revealed 
to us by modern excavation may not, after all, be 
many centuries later than the time when the culture 
of Babylonia found its way to the Nile. 

Indeed, there is a fact which indicates that this is 
the case, and that the literary culture of Babylonia 
had been imported into the valley of the Nile at 
a time when Egypt was divided into independent 
kingdoms. At an early epoch an ingenious system 
of official chronology had been invented in Baby- 
lonia. The years were named there after the chief 
events that had occurred in each of them, among 


these the accession or death of a king being naturally 
prominent. At the death of a king a list was drawn 
up of his regnal years, with their characteristic events, 
and such lists were from time to time combined 
into longer chronicles. The Babylonians were pre- 
eminently a commercial people, and for purposes of 
trade it was necessary that contracts and other legal 
documents should be dated accurately, and that in 
case of a dispute the date should be easily ascertained. 
Now an exactly similar system of dating had been 
adopted in Egypt before the age of the First historical 
dynasty. A pre-Menic monument dated in this way 
has been discovered at Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt, 
and the same method of reckoning time is found on 
ivory tablets that have been disinterred at Abydos. 
The method lasted down to the age of the Fifth 
dynasty, since the Museum of Palermo contains the 
fragment of a stone from Heliopolis, on which the 
chronology of the Egyptian kings is given from 
Menes onward, each year being named after the 
event or events from which it had received its official 
title. The successive reigns are divided from one 
another as in the Babylonian lists, and the height 
of the Nile in each year is further added — a note 
which naturally is of Egyptian origin. It is, there- 
fore, interesting to observe that it is added as a note, 
independent of the event which gave its name to the 
year. Nothing could prove more clearly the foreign 
origin of the whole system of chronology, since, had 
it been of native invention, the height of the Nile, on 
which the prosperity of the country depended, would 
have been the first event to be recorded. After the fall 
of the Old Empire this ancient Babylonian method 


of dating seems to have passed out of use like the 
Babylonian seal-cylinder ; at all events we find no 
further traces of it. It was, in short, an exotic which 
never took kindly to Egyptian soil. 

Did the " dynastic " Egyptians bring this method 
of dating with them, or did they borrow it after their 
settlement in Egypt ? The second supposition is 
very difficult to entertain, for intimate trade relations 
between Babylonia and Upper (or Lower) l Egypt in 
the pre-Menic age appear to be out of the question, 
and are unsupported by any known facts. And 
literary correspondence, such as was carried on in the 
time of the Eighteenth dynasty, seems equally out 
of the question. How, then, did the Egyptians come 
to learn the peculiar Babylonian system of chronology 
unless the founders of the culture of which it formed 
a portion had originally brought it with them from 
the east ? 

The same question is raised by the existence in 
early Egypt of an artistic motif which had its origin 
in Babylonia. This is what is usually known as the 

1 I have put " Lower " between parentheses since it is very 
questionable whether this particular system of registering time 
was known in the Delta until it was introduced from Upper 
Egypt. On the Palermo stone a list of the early kings of Lower 
Egypt is given, but without any dates, which make their appear- 
ance along with the kings of the First dynasty, who belonged 
to Upper Egypt. It is interesting to observe that the ideograph 
for "year" is denoted in exactly the same way in both the 
Babylonian and the Egyptian hieroglyphs by the branch of a 
(palm) tree. Such a curious symbol for the idea can hardly have 
been invented independently Professor Hommel further draws 
attention to the fact that while the literal translation of a 
common ideographic mode of representing " year " in Babylonian 
is "name of heaven," that of the two syllables of the Egyptian 
word renpet) "year," would also be "name of heaven." 


heraldic position of the figures of men and animals. 
An example of it is found on the famous " palette " 
of Nar-Buzau discovered by Mr. Ouibell at Hiera- 
konpolis, 1 where the hybrid monsters whose necks 
form the centre of the slate are heraldically arranged. 
In this case the design is known to be Babylonian, 
since M. Heuzey has pointed out a Babylonian seal- 
cylinder on which the two monsters recur. Nar- 
Buzau is made the immediate predecessor of Menes by 
Professor Petrie on grounds to which every archae- 
ologist must assent ; but an even better example of 
the heraldic design is met with on a great isolated rock 
of sandstone near El-Kab which was quarried in the 
time of the Old Empire. Here the ownership and 
opening of the quarry are denoted by an elaborate 
sculpture of the Pharaoh, who is duplicated, his two 
forms being figured as seated back to back, with a 
column between them, while the winged solar disk of 
Edfu, with the royal uraei on either side of the orb, 
spreads its wings above them. Each of the royal 
forms holds a sceptre, but that on the left has no 
head-dress, whereas that on the right wears a skull- 
cap, above which is the solar orb with the uraeus 
serpent issuing from it. 2 In front of the latter is an 

1 Hierakonpolis, part i. plate xxix. The name of the king 
is usually (but erroneously) written Nar-Mer. 

2 As the royal figures wear no crowns, they can hardly depict 
the king in his double office of king of Upper and Lower Egypt, 
and the duplication of the Pharaoh must consequently have a 
purely artistic origin. That this artistic origin is closely con- 
nected with the origin of the seal-cylinders is shown by the fact 
that the figures correspond with one of the most common 
designs on the latter, in which the ka of the person to whom 
the cylinder belonged is seated on a chair similar to that of the 
El-Kab king, an altar with offerings of bread being set before 


altar consisting of a bowl on a stand, loaves of bread 
and a cup and jar of wine (with the customary 
handles for suspension) being engraved above the 
bowl along with a series of perpendicular lines which 
in this instance cannot (as has been suggested) repre- 
sent the fringes of a mat. In front of the figure on 
the left is another altar, of different shape, the place 
of the bowl being taken by a flat top, above which 
are six upright lines and a fiat cake. Precisely the 
same altar with the same objects above it are engraved 
on a broken seal-cylinder of ivory found by Dr. 
Reisner at Naga' ed-Der, which I understand from 
the discoverer to be of the age of the First dynasty. 
When, therefore, was it that the heraldic design in 
art was introduced into Egypt from its Babylonian 
birthplace ? In any case it would seem to have been 
before the foundation of the united monarchy. 

In Babylonia itself, as we have seen, tradition 
looked seaward, towards the Persian Gulf, for the 
elements of its civilization. At any rate the seaport 
of Eridu was the gateway through which the culture 
of Babylonia was believed to have passed. Here on 
the shores of the sea the culture-god of Sumer had 
his home ; here trade sprang up, and the sailors and 
merchants of Eridu came into contact with men of 
other lands and other habits. Is it possible to discover 
a connection between Eridu and primeval Egypt? 

I believe that it is, though in making the attempt 
we are of course treading upon precarious ground. 
There are certain curious coincidences, one of which, 
since it goes to the heart of Sumerian and Egyptian 
religion, is necessarily of considerable weight. But 
they are all, it must be remembered, more in the 


nature of indications and possibilities than of 
ascertained facts. 

Eridu meant in Sumerian "the good city." 
Memphis (Men-nofer), "the good place," the name 
of the first capital of united Egypt, had the same 
signification. In the case of Eridu the name had 
something to do with the fact that the city was the 
seat of Ea, the god of beneficent spells and incantations, 
who had given the arts and sciences to man, and was 
ever ready to heal those that were sick. The son 
and vice-gerent of Ea, who carried his commands 
to earth and spent his time in curing diseases and 
raising "the dead to life," was Asari, "the prince," 
who was usually entitled Mulu-dugga, "the good" or 
"beneficent one." The character and attributes of 
Asari are thus the same as those of the Egyptian Osiris, 
who was also known as Ati, " the prince," and was 
commonly addressed as Un-nofer, " the good being." 
Unlike most of the Egyptian deities, Osiris had 
the same human form as Asari of Eridu, and the 
resemblance between the names of Asari and Osiris — 
Asar in Egyptian — is rendered more striking by the 
remarkable fact that they are both represented by 
two ideographs or hieroglyphs of precisely the same 
shape and signification. 1 It does not appear possible 
to ascribe such a threefold identity to mere coinci- 
dence. And the theory of coincidence becomes still 
more improbable when we remember that while the 
story of Osiris centres in his death and resurrection, 
one of the chief offices of the Sumerian Asari was to 

1 The eye and the ideograph of city or place. Since the eye 
here has the phonetic value of eriox art, the ideograph of "city," 
which is eri in Sumerian, must have the Egyptian value of as. 


" raise the dead to life." Nowhere else in Babylonian 
literature, whether Sumerian or Semitic, do we find 
any reference to a resurrection ; the Semitic Baby- 
lonians, indeed, did not look forward to a future life 
at all, or if they did, it was to a shadowy existence in 
a subterranean land of darkness " where all things are 
forgotten." It is only in connection with Asari that 
we hear of a possibility that the dead may live again. 
Other resemblances between the theologies of 
Eridu and primitive Egypt have been pointed out. 
Professor Hommel believes that in the Egyptian deity 
Nun, the heavenly ocean, we must see a Sumerian god 
Nun, who also represented the celestial abyss. How- 
ever this may be, an old formula, torn from its 
context, which has been introduced into the Pyramid 
texts of the Pharaoh Pepi I., takes us back not only 
to the cosmology of Eridu but to the literary form in 
which it had been expressed. Pepi, it is said, " was 
born of his father Turn. At that time the heaven was 
not, the earth was not, men did not exist, the gods 
were not born, there was no death." The words are 
almost a repetition of those with which the Baby- 
lonian epic of the creation begins : " At that time 
the heaven above was not known by name, the earth 
beneath was not named ... at that time the gods 
had not appeared, any one of them " ; and they are 
also a distant echo of the commencement of the 
cosmological legend of Sumerian Eridu: "At that 
time no holy house, no house of the gods in a holy 
place had been built, no reed had grown, no tree had 
been planted." x 

The testimony of philological archaeology, if I may 
1 See my Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia^ p. 238. 


use such a term, is supplemented by that of archaeo- 
logical discovery. Sumerian Babylonia and early 
dynastic Egypt are alike characterized by vases of 
hard stone, many of which have the same forms. 
Examples of some of them will be found in de 
Morgan's Recherches sur les Origines de PEgypte, ii. 
p. 257, where J^quier observes that analogues to the 
Egyptian vases have been disinterred by de Sarzec 
atTello in Southern Babylonia, "the shape and execu- 
tion of which are exactly like " those discovered in 
Egypt, "the only difference being that the one are 
ornamented with hieroglyphics, and the others with 
a cuneiform inscription ; apart from this they are 
identical in make." The most remarkable instance 
of identity, however, is the design on the palette of 
the pre-Menic Pharaoh Nar-Buzau to which attention 
was first called by Professor Heuzey. 1 On this we have 
a representation of two lions set face to face in the 
Babylonian fashion, and with long serpentine necks 
which are interlaced so as to enclose a circle. Pre- 
cisely the same representation is met with on an early 
Babylonian seal-cylinder from Tello. 

Years ago I noticed the general likeness presented 
by the seated statues of Tello to those of the Third 
Egyptian dynasty, 2 and suggested that both belonged 
to the same school of sculpture. A little earlier Pro- 
fessor Flinders Petrie had demonstrated that the 

1 Comptes rendus de ? Acadhnie des Inscriptions et Belles 
Lettres, 4 Ser., 1899, xxvii. pp. 60-67 ! see Hierakonpolis, part ii. 
plate xxviii. In the Revue cVAssyriologie, v. pp. 29-32, Heuzey 
has lately drawn attention to the resemblance between the 
early Egyptian and Babylonian bowls of calcite or Egyptian 

2 Lectures on the Religion of the Aficient Babylonians, 1887, 
P- 33- 


standard of measurement marked upon the plan of 
the city which one of the Tello figures holds in his 
lap is the same as the standard of measurement of 
the Egyptian pyramid-builders, the cubit, namely, 
of 20*63, which is quite different from the later 
Assyro-Babylonian cubit of 2i*6. 1 Still more con- 
vincing, perhaps, is the Babylonian division of the 
year into twelve months of thirty days each, 
which was already known in Egypt in the age of the 
early dynasties. The Babylonian week of five and 
ten days reappears in the Egyptian week of ten days, 
while the division of the day into twelve " double 
hours," six belonging to the day and six to the night, 
has its counterpart in the Egyptian day of twenty- 
four hours, twelve of which were reckoned to the day 
and the other twelve to the night. Since a list of the 
thirty-six decans or zodiacal stars has recently been 
found on a coffin of the time of the Twelfth Dynasty 2 it 
is possible that this distinctively Babylonian invention 
may also go back to the age of the first Egyptian 
dynasties. At all events one of the chief stars in the 
Pyramid texts is " the Bull of heaven," a translation 
of the Sumerian Gudi-bir, or " Bull of Light," the 
name given to the planet Jupiter in its relation to 
the ecliptic. In primitive Babylonian astronomy the 
zodiacal sign of the Bull ushered in the year. 

It may be that some of these evidences of Baby- 
lonian influence are referable to contact between 
Babylonia and Egypt in the age that immediately 
preceded the foundation of the united Egyptian 

1 Nature, August 9, 1883, p. 341. 

2 Daressy, " Le Cercueil d'Emsaht," in the Annates du Service 
iles Antiquitds de PEgypte, 1899, i. pp. 79-90. 


[To face p. 122. 


monarchy rather than to that still earlier age when 
the "dynastic" settlers first settled in the valley of 
the Nile. But at present we do not know how such a 
contact could have taken place. Upper Egypt and 
not the Delta was the seat of the first Pharaohs with 
their Horus-hawk totem, and at the remote period 
when the future civilization of the country was being 
developed under their fostering care it is difficult to 
believe that Babylonian soldiers or traders had made 
their way to the shores of the Mediterranean, much 
less to the deserts of the Sayyid. For the present, at 
all events, where we have clear proof of the depend- 
ence of early Egyptian culture upon that of the 
Babylonians we have no alternative but to ascribe it 
to the Semitic emigrants or invaders to whom the 
historical civilization of Egypt was primarily due. 1 
This civilization, like that of Babylonia, implied a 

1 I have called Upper Egypt the seat of the first Pharaohs, 
not only because the earliest dynastic monuments we possess 
come from thence, but also because it was of Upper Egypt and 
its ruling caste that the hawk-god Horus was the guardian deity. 
From Upper Egypt he was carried to Lower Egypt and its 
nomes, presumably through conquest, as is monumentally attested 
by the "palette" of Nar-Buzau_ discovered at Hierakonpolis 
(Capart, Debuts de PAit en Egypte, p. 236). So, too, the 
anthropomorphic Osiris — the duplicate of Anhur— made his 
way from the south to the north. That Southern Arabia should 
have been the connecting-link between Babylonia and Egypt 
was the result of its being the source of the incense which was 
imported for religious use into both countries alike at the very 
beginning of their histories. That this foreign product should 
have been considered an indispensable adjunct of the religions 
of the two civilizations is one of the best proofs we have of their 
connection with one another. Dr. Schweinfurth has shown that 
the sacred trees of Egypt — the sycamore and the persea — which 
needed artificial cultivation for their preservation there, came 
from Southern Arabia, where he found them growing wild under 
the names of Kkanes, Burra and Lebakh ( Verhandhmgen der 
Gcsellschaft fur Erdlciinde zu Berli?i, July 1889, No. 7). 


knowledge of metal. It was a civilization of the 
copper age, and thus stood in sharp contrast to the 
neolithic culture, such as it was, of " prehistoric " 
Egypt. Egyptian tradition, it is true, believed that 
the metal weapons with which the followers of Horus 
had overcome the stone-defended natives of the 
country were of iron, but this was because the com- 
pilers of the story in its existing form projected the 
knowledge and usages of their own time back into 
the past. There is incontrovertible proof that in 
Egypt, as in Europe, the ages of copper and bronze 
preceded that of iron. But the tradition was doubt- 
less right in laying stress upon the fact that the 
invaders were forgers and blacksmiths. It would 
have been by reason of the superiority of their arms 
that they succeeded in subduing the valley of the Nile 
and reducing its inhabitants to serfdom. They were, 
too, "the followers of Horus," under the leadership 
of a single prince who was himself a Horus, that is 
to say, an incarnate god. Here, again, we find our- 
selves in the presence of a conception and doctrine 
of Semitic Babylonia. There, too, as we have seen, 
the kings were incarnate gods, not only the sons 
of a divinity, but themselves divine. In Egypt, 
apart from the Osirian circle, the gods were not 
men, but animals, and so deeply rooted was this 
beast-worship in the hearts of the indigenous popu- 
lation that even the " dynastic " civilization, with 
all its unifying and absorbing power, never succeeded 
in doing more than in uniting the head of the beast 
with the body of the man. Even the human Pharaoh 
was forced to picture himself as a hawk. In Semitic 
Babylonia on the other hand, as we have seen, the 


deification of the king flowed naturally from the 
anthropomorphic conception of the deity ; where man 
was made in the image of God, it was easy to see in 
him a god on earth. Like the use of copper, therefore, 
the deification of the king which characterized dynastic 
Egypt points back to Babylonia. 

It must not be supposed, however, that because 
certain elements and leading characteristics in the 
civilization of historical Egypt indicate that the 
Semitic-speaking race to whom it was mainly due 
came originally from Babylonia, there are no elements 
in it which can be derived from elsewhere. On the 
contrary, there is much that is native to Egypt itself. 
Even the script shows but comparatively few traces of 
a Babylonian origin. If the " dynastic " Egyptians 
came from Babylonia, they must have very consider- 
ably modified and developed the seeds of culture 
which they brought with them. And in Egypt they 
found a neolithic culture which had already made 
considerable progress. The indigenous population 
possessed the same artistic sense as the palaeolithic 
European of the Solutrian and Magdalenian epochs, 
with whom perhaps it was contemporaneous, and 
under the direction of its dynastic conquerors this 
sense was trained and educated until the Egyptians 
of history became one of the most artistic peoples of 
the old world. 

But it is noticeable that throughout the historical 
period whenever the civilizations of Egypt and 
Babylonia came into contact, it was Egypt that was 
influenced rather than Asia. The tradition of the 
earliest ages was thus carried on ; the stream of 
influence flowed from the east, and Herodotus was 


justified in assigning Egypt to Asia rather than to 
Africa. It was, in fact, Asia with an African colouring. 
In the days of the Eighteenth dynasty, when Egypt 
for the first and last time possessed an Asiatic empire, 
the eastern influence is very marked. The script 
itself became Babylonian, the correspondence of the 
Government with its own officials in Canaan was 
conducted in the Babylonian language and the 
Babylonian syllabary, and there are indications that 
even the official memoranda of the campaigns of 
Thothmes III. were drawn up in cuneiform characters. 
The clay tablets of Babylonia were imitated in Upper 
Egypt, where hieroglyphic and hieratic characters 
were somewhat awkwardly impressed upon them, and 
the language was filled with Semitic loan-words. The 
fashionable author of the age of the Nineteenth 
dynasty interlarded his style not only with Semitic 
words, but even with Semitic phrases. It is true that 
the Semitic words and phrases are Canaanite ; but 
Canaan had long been a province of Babylonia, and 
it was because it was permeated with Babylonian 
culture and used the Babylonian script, that the 
foreign words and phrases were introduced into the 
literary language of Egypt. 

On the other hand, so far as, we can judge, there 
was no reflex action of Egypt upon Babylonia. The 
seal-cylinder was never superseded there by the 
scarab ; indeed the only scarabs yet found in the 
Mesopotamian region are memorials of the Egyptian 
conquests of the Eighteenth dynasty. Neither the 
hieroglyphs nor the hieratic of Egypt made their 
way eastward into Asia, a fact which is somewhat 
remarkable when we remember over how wide an area 


the more complicated cuneiform spread. It was 
Europe that was affected by Egypt rather than Asia. 
Before Egypt laid claim to Palestine, Babylonian 
culture had already taken too firm a hold of Western 
Asia to be dislodged, and in Babylonia itself Egyptian 
influences are hard to find. In the age of Khammu-rabi, 
we meet with a few proper names which may contain 
the name of the Sun-god Ra, as well as with the 
name of Anupum or Anubis on a stone cylinder, and 
the hieroglyphic character nefer, " good," is affixed to 
a legal document. 1 But this merely proves that in a 
period when the Babylonian Empire reached to the con- 
fines of Egypt, there were Egyptians settled in Babylon 
for the purpose of trade. A more curious example of 
possible Egyptian influence is one to which I have 
drawn attention in my lectures on the Religions of 
Ancient Egypt and Babylonia? Thoth, the Egyptian god 
of literature, was accompanied by four apes, who sang 
hymns to the rising and setting sun. Travellers have 
described the dancing and screaming of troops of 
apes at daybreak when the sun first lights up the 
earth, and the origin of these companions of Thoth 
has been cleared up by an inscription in a tomb at 
Assuan. Here we learn that in the age of the Old 
Empire, expeditions were sent by the Pharaohs into 
the Sudan — the home of the apes of Thoth — in order 
to bring back from " the land of the gods " Danga 

1 In the possession of Lord Amherst of Hackney. On an 
early Babylonian seal-cylinder, bought by Dr. Scheil at Mossul 
and figured in the Recueil de Travanx relatifs d la Philologie et 
d t ArchMogie igyptiennes et assyriennes, xix. I, 2, No. 7 of 
the plate, we have : " Ili-su-bani son of Aminanum, servant of 
the gods Bel and Anupum.'' Aminanum may be a Semitized 
form of the Egyptian Ameni. 

2 Pp. 133, 139 485. 


dwarfs who could " dance the dances of the gods." 
In the eyes of the Egyptians, it would seem, there 
was little difference between the ape and the Danga 
dwarf; the one was a dwarf-like ape, the other an 
ape-like man. But they alone could perform correctly 
the dances that were held in honour of certain gods, 
and which are already depicted on the prehistoric 
vases of Egypt. 1 Closely allied to the Danga dwarfs 
and the apes of Thoth are the Khnumu or Pataeki of 
Memphis, the followers of Ptah, who were also dwarfs 
with bowed legs. Now dwarfs of precisely the same 
form are found on early Babylonian seal-cylinders 
where they are associated sometimes with the goddess 
Istar, sometimes with an ape and the god Sin. 2 The 
Babylonian name of the dwarf was the Sumerian 
Nu-gidda, an indication that his association with the 
deity went back to Sumerian times. We may conclude 
that, like the Danga dwarf of Egypt, he, too, performed 
dances in honour of the gods. 

The extraordinary resemblance of form between 
the Egyptian and Babylonian sacred dwarfs, as 
represented in art, raises the question whether the 
Babylonian dwarf was not an importation from 
Egypt, since the ape with which he was confounded 
was a native of the Sudan. This was the view to 
which I was long inclined, but there are certain 
considerations which make it difficult to be accepted. 

1 De Morgan, Recherches sur les Origines de PEgy/>te, p. 65. 

2 Scheil, Recueil de Travaux relatifs d la Philologie et d 
PArche'ologie egyptiennes et assyrie/mes, xix. pp. 50, 54 ; Sayce, 
Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylojiia, p. 485. The dwarf 
is represented as dancing before the god Sin on an early 
Babylonian seal-cylinder published by Scheil in the Recueil, 
xix. 1, 2, No. 16 of the plate. 


The Khnumu of Memphis were not the only dwarfs 
who were represented by the Egyptian artists. Still 
better known was Bes, who became a special favourite 
in the Roman period, when he was made a sort of 
patron of childbirth. But Bes, it was remembered, 
had come to Egypt from the southern lands of Somali 
and Arabia, like the goddess Hathor or the god 
Horus. Hathor is, I believe, the Babylonian Istar, 
who has passed to Egypt through her South Arabian 
name of Athtar ; however this may be, Ptah of 
Memphis, whose followers were the Khnumu dwarfs, 
bears a Semitic name, and must therefore be of 
Semitic derivation. He belongs, that is to say, to the 
Egyptians of the dynastic stock, and is accordingly 
one of the few Egyptian divinities who is depicted in 
human form. On the other hand, the Sumerian dwarf 
Nu-gidda is the companion of Istar. 

On the Egyptian side, therefore, the dwarfs of Ptah 
are associated with a god who has come from Asia, 
while the dwarf Bes was confessedly of foreign 
extraction. On the Babylonian side the dwarf 
Nu-gidda was the associate of Istar, the counterpart 
of Hathor, and of Sin, the Moon-god, who was 
adopted by the people of Southern Arabia, and whose 
name was carried as far as Mount Sinai on the borders 
of Egypt. All this suggests that the sacred dwarf 
came to the valley of the Nile from Babylonia and 
Arabia like the name of Ptah, the creator of the 
world. In this case it would have come with the 
dynastic Egyptians before the age of history begins. 

But, on the other hand, there is the ape, and the ape 
is figured along with the dwarf on the Babylonian 
seals. It is true that the ape is equally foreign to 



Egypt and Babylonia, but the Sudan is nearer Egypt 
than Southern Arabia is to Babylonia. The actual 
date and path of migration, therefore, of the sacred 
dwarf must be left undecided. Whether he was 
brought to Egypt at the dawn of history, or whether 
he travelled to Babylonia in the historical age remains 
doubtful. All we can be sure of is that the sacred 
dwarfs of Babylonia and Egypt were originally one 
and the same, and that they testify to an intercourse 
between the two countries of which all literary record 
has been lost. 1 

The same verdict must be given in the case of 
another point, not only of resemblance, but of identity, 
between ancient Egypt and Babylonia. This is the 
shaduf or contrivance for drawing water from a falling 
river for the sake of irrigation. The shaduf, which is 
still used in Upper Egypt, can be traced back pictori- 
ally to the time of the Eighteenth dynasty, but the 
basin system of irrigation with which it was connected 
was already of immemorial antiquity. It is a simple 
yet most effective invention, and on that account 
perhaps the less likely to have been independently 
invented, for it is always the obvious which remains 
longest unnoticed. In the modern shaduf a long pole 
is laid across a beam which is supported at either end 
upon other poles or on pillars of brick or mud ; it is 
kept in place by thongs and is heavily weighted at one 
end, while at the other end a bucket or skin is attached 
to it by means of a rope. The shaduf of the 

1 It is worth notice that the dwarf-god Bes, who is called " God 
of Punt " in inscriptions of the Ptolemaic age, appears on Arab 
coins of the Roman period (Schweinfurth, Verhandlungen der 
Gesellschaftfiir Erdkande 1889, No. 7). 


Eighteenth dynasty was supported sometimes, as to- 
day, on a cross-beam, sometimes on a column of mud, 
and the bucket was of triangular form with two 
handles to which the rope was tied. Representations 
of it from Theban tombs will be found in Maspero's 
Dawn of Civilization, p. 764, and Sir Gardner 
Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, plates 38 and 356. 
Precisely the same machine is represented on a bas- 
relief found by Layard in the palace of Kuyunjik at 
Nineveh, 1 the only difference being that the shaduf- 
worker stands upon a platform of brick instead of on 
the bank itself, and that the pillar upon which the 
pole is supported seems to be built of bricks rather 
than of mud. The machine, however, is identical in 
both its Egyptian and its Assyrian form. That the 
bas-relief should have been found in Assyria and not 
in Babylonia is a mere accident. Like almost every- 
thing else in Assyrian culture, the invention was of 
Babylonian origin, and, in fact, formed part of the 
system of irrigation which made the plain of Babylonia 
habitable. Herodotus, who calls the machine a 
K-qXcavelov, describes it as being used as in Egypt, and 
for the same reason, since the river did not rise to the 
actual level of the cultivated ground, which, like that 
of Egypt, was divided into a number of basins. 2 

The palace of Kuyunjik belongs to the last age of 
Assyrian history. But the shaduf in Babylonia went 
back to the Sumerian period, as we know from the 
references to it in the lexical tablets. It was called 
duldtum in Semitic Babylonian, the pole or poles 
being kakritum, and the bucket zirqu or zirqatum 

1 Layard, Monuments of Nineveh^ Second Series, pi. 15. 

2 Herodotus, i. 193. 


(Sumerian sd), 1 and an old Sumerian collection of agri- 
cultural precepts describes how the irrigator " fixes up 
the shaduf, hangs up the bucket and draws water." 2 
The " irrigator " was naturally an important personage 
in early Babylonia, and legend averred that the famous 
Sargon of Akkad, the founder of the first Semitic 
Empire, had been rescued as a child from a watery 
grave, and brought up by one. In both Babylonia 
and Egypt the shaduf was closely associated with a 
system of irrigation which went back to the dawn of 
their several histories. 

What explanation must we give of its identity in the 
two countries ? There are three possibilities. In the 
first place, it may have been invented independently 
on the banks of both the Euphrates and the Nile. 
Similar conditions tend to produce similar results. 
But against this is the fact that the shaduf was not 
the only kind of irrigating machine that was suggested 
by the nature of the two rivers and the lands through 
which they flowed. In modern Egypt, besides the 
shaduf there are the saqia, or water-wheel, and an 
irrigating contrivance which is in use in the Delta. 
The water-wheel, we know, was a Babylonian inven- 
tion which was imported into Egypt in comparatively 
recent times ; the irrigating contrivance of the Delta, 
which consists of a bucket suspended on a rope swung 
by two men who stand facing each other, is a primitive 
instrument which might have been invented anywhere. 
Its survival is due to the fact that in the flat marshes 
of the Delta, the shaduf, though saving labour, is not 

1 The rope appears to have been makutum; see IV. A. I. v. 
26, 61. 
i K. 56, ii. 14. 


necessary, and it therefore continued to be employed 
there after the shaduf was known. But this implies 
that the shaduf was not the oldest instrument for 
raising the water of the Nile. 

Then there is the second possibility that the shaduf 
was borrowed by Egypt from Babylonia or by Baby- 
lonia from Egypt in historical times. In Babylonia, 
however, we can trace its history back to the Sumerian 
epoch, and in both countries it was intimately con- 
nected with a system of irrigation the origin of which 
must be sought in the prehistoric age, and which was 
probably carried from the valley of the Euphrates to 
that of the Nile. There remains the third possibility 
that it came to Egypt along with the system of 
irrigation itself. 

It is always easier to ask questions than to answer 
them, in archaeology as in other things. There are 
many details connected with the early relationship 
between the civilizations of Babylonia and Egypt 
which must be left to future research to discover. 
But of that relationship there can now be little ques- 
tion in the minds of those who are accustomed to deal 
with inductive evidence. There was intercourse in the 
prehistoric age between the two countries, and the 
civilizing influences, like the wheat and the language, 
came from the lands which bordered on the Euphrates. 
Civilized man made his way from the east, and dwelt 
in primeval days " in the land of Shinar." x 

1 For other evidences of contact between primitive Babylonia 
and early Egypt, see Heuzey in the Revue d' Assyriologze, 1899, 
v. 2, pp. 53-6. He there enumerates (1) the resemblance 
between the stone mace-heads of the two countries in " prehis- 
toric times," as well as between the flat dishes of veined and 
ribboned onyx marble, hollowed and rounded by the hand ; (2) 


between the lion-heads of stone, the onyx stone of one of which 
is stated in an inscription to have come from Magan ; (3) the 
extraordinary likeness in the delineation of animal forms, which 
extends to conventional details " like the two concentric curves 
artificially arranged so as to allow the two corners of the profile 
to be visible at the same time" ; (4) the use of a razor and the 
custom of completely shaving the face, and even the skull ; and 
(5) the ceremonial form of libation by means of a vase of 
peculiar shape, with a long curved spout and without a handle. 
This libation vase was practically the same in both countries, in 
spite of its peculiar and somewhat complicated form. Of later 
introduction into Egypt was the inscribed cone of terra-cotta, 
which was of early Babylonian origin, but is not met with in 
Egypt before the age of the Twelfth dynasty. At any rate, the 
first specimens of it hitherto found there were discovered by 
myself at Ed-Der, opposite Esna, in 1905 {Annates du Service 
des Antiquites de P Egypt, 1905, pp. 164-5). 

[To face p. 135. 



A very few years ago Palestine was still 
archaeologically an unknown land. Its history subse- 
quent to the Israelitish conquest could be gathered 
from the Old Testament, and Egyptian papyri of the 
age of the Nineteenth dynasty had told us something 
about its condition immediately prior to that event. 
Thanks to the Palestine Exploration Fund,the country 
had been carefully surveyed, and the monuments 
still existing on its surface had been noted and 
registered. But the earlier history of the people, their 
races and origin, their social and religious life, and 
their relation to the rest of the world, were still a 
blank. Of the Canaan invaded by the children of 
Israel we knew nothing from an archaeological point 
of view, and very little even of the Palestine that was 
governed by Israelitish judges and Jewish kings. 

The veil has at last been lifted which so long lay 
over the face of Palestine. Cuneiform texts have come 
to clear up its civil history, while the spade of the 
excavator has supplemented their evidence on the 
more purely archaeological side. The history of Pales- 
tine can now be followed back not only into the neolithic, 
but even into the palaeolithic age, and the source and 



character of Canaanite civilization have been in large 
measure revealed to us. 

First and foremost among the materials which have 
made this possible are the cuneiform tablets of Tel el- 
Amarna in Upper Egypt, which were discovered in 
1887. Tel el-Amarna, about midway between Minia 
and Assiut, is the site of a city which sprang, like a 
meteor, into a brief but glorious existence under the 
so-called " heretic king " Amon-hotep IV. about B.C. 
1400. Amon-hotep, under the guidance of his mother, 
had endeavoured to suppress the old state religion of 
Egypt, and to substitute for it a pantheistic mono- 
theism. In spite of persecution, however, the adherents 
of the old faith proved too strong for the king ; he 
was forced to leave Thebes, the capital of his fathers, 
and to build a new capital further north, where he 
changed his name to that of Khu-n-Aten, and called 
artists from the islands of the Mediterranean to adorn 
his palace. When moving from Thebes he naturally 
transferred to the new seat of government both the 
Foreign Office and its records in so far as they 
covered the reign of his father Amon-hotep III. and 
his own. For reasons unknown to us they do not 
extend further back. 

They were all in the cuneiform script, and for the 
most part in the Babylonian language. The fact 
came upon the historian with a shock of surprise, and 
had far-reaching consequences, historical as well as 
archaeological. In the first place, they proved what 
had already been suspected, that under the Eighteenth 
dynasty Egypt possessed an Asiatic empire which 
stretched to the banks of the Euphrates. Then, 
secondly, they showed that Western Asia was at the 


time intersected by high-roads along which merchants 
and couriers were constantly passing, and an active 
literary correspondence was carried on. Thirdly — 
and this was the greatest surprise of all — they made it 
clear that this correspondence was in the script and 
language of Babylonia, and that it was shared in by 
writers of various nationalities and languages, of all 
classes of society and of both sexes. The Hittite and 
Cappadocian kings wrote to the Pharaoh in cuneiform 
characters, just as did the kings of Babylonia and 
Assyria. Arab shekhs and Hittite condottieri joined 
in the correspondence, and politically-minded ladies 
did the same. Even the Egyptian Government was 
compelled to suppress all feelings of national vanity, 
and to conduct the whole of its correspondence with 
its own governors and vassals in Palestine or Syria in 
the foreign language and syllabary. There is no trace 
anywhere of the use of either the Egyptian language 
or the Egyptian mode of writing. 

From these facts other facts follow. The age of 
the Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty must have been 
quite as literary as the age of our own eighteenth 
century, and international correspondence must have 
been quite as easy, if not easier. Education, more- 
over, must have been very widely spread ; all the 
civilized world was writingand reading; and the system 
of writing was a most complicated one, demanding 
years of study and memory. In spite of this it was 
known not only to a professional class of scribes and 
the officials of the Government, but also to the shekhs 
of petty Canaanitish towns and even to Bedawin 
chiefs. And along with the system of writing went 
a knowledge of the foreign language of Babylonia — 


the French of Western Asia — including some slight 
acquaintance with the extinct language of the 
Sumerians. All this presupposes libraries and archive- 
chambers where books and dispatches could be stored, 
as well as schools where the Babylonian script and 
language could be taught and learned. 

Such libraries and schools had existed in Babylonia 
from a very early age. Every great city had its 
library, every great temple its muniment-room. Here 
the clay books were numbered and arranged on 
shelves, catalogues being provided which gave their 
titles. The system under which the longer literary 
or semi-scientific works were arranged and catalogued 
was at once ingenious and complete. By the side of 
the library was naturally the school. Here every 
effort was made to facilitate the progress of the 
scholars, more especially in the study of the Sumerian 
language and texts. The characters of the syllabary 
were classified and named ; comparative grammars, 
dictionaries and reading-books of Sumerian and 
Semitic Babylonian were compiled, lists of Semitic 
synonyms were drawn up, explanatory commentaries 
were written on older works, and interlinear transla- 
tions provided for the Sumerian texts. But with all 
this the cuneiform system of writing must have been 
hard even for the native Babylonian to learn, and 
in the case of the foreigner its difficulties were 
multiplied. It may be doubted whether the average 
boy of to-day, who finds the spelling of his own 
English almost too much for him, would have had 
the memory and patience, to learn the cuneiform 
characters. Even in Sumerian times the difficulty 
of the task was realized, for there is a Sumerian 


proverb that " he who would excel in the school of 
the scribes must rise with the dawn." x It says much 
for the educational zeal of the Oriental world in the 
century before the Exodus that it was just this 
difficult and complicated script which it chose as its 
medium for correspondence. 

The fact, however, points unmistakably to its 
cause. The reason why the Babylonian language 
and syllabary were thus in use throughout Western 
Asia, and why even the Egyptian Government was 
obliged to employ them in its communications with 
its Asiatic subjects, can only have been because 
Babylonian culture was too deeply rooted there to 
be superseded by any other. Before Egypt appeared 
upon the scene under the conquerors of the Eighteenth 
dynasty, Western Asia, as far as the Mediterranean, 
must have been for centuries under the direct in- 
fluence and domination of Babylonia. I say domina- 
tion as well as influence", for in the ancient East 
military conquest was needed to enforce an alien 
language and literature, theology and system of law 
upon another people. And even military conquest 
was not always sufficient, as witness the Assyrian 
and Persian conquests of Egypt, or the Roman 
conquest of Syria. 

We now have monumental testimony that such 
domination there actually was. As far back as B.C. 
3800, Sargon of Akkad had founded a Semitic empire 
which had its centre in Babylon, and which stretched 
across Asia to the shores of the Mediterranean. We 
learn from his annals that three campaigns were 
needed to subdue " the land of the Amorites," as 
1 Recueil de Travaux, etc., xvi. p. 190. 


Syria and Palestine were called, and that at last, 
after three years of warfare, all the coast-lands of 
" the sea of the setting sun " acknowledged his sway. 
He set up an image of himself on the Syrian coast 
in commemoration of his victories, and moulded his 
conquests "into one" great empire. His son and 
successor, Naram-Sin, extended his conquests into 
the Sinaitic peninsula, and a seal-cylinder, on 
which he is adored as a god, has been found in 
Cyprus. But Sargon was a patron of literature as 
well as a conqueror ; his court was filled with learned 
men, and one of the standard works of Babylonian 
literature is said to have been compiled during his 
reign. The extension of Babylonian rule, therefore, 
to Western Asia meant the extension of Babylonian 
civilization, an integral part of which was its script. 

Here, then, is an explanation of the archaeological 
fact that the graves of the copper and early bronze 
age in Cyprus, which mark the beginning of civiliza- 
tion in the country, contain numerous seal-cylinders 
made in imitation of those of Babylonia. 1 Examples 
of the seal-cylinders from which they were copied 
have also been discovered there. Among them is the 
cylinder on which Naram-Sin is adored as a god, 
another is an extremely fine specimen of the style 
that was current in the age of Sargon of Akkad. 2 
Along with the seal-cylinder it is probable that the 

1 In the later bronze or " Mykenaean " age the seal-cylinders 
are of a different type, and are engraved on a black artificial 
paste resembling haematite (Myres and Ohnefalsch-Richter, 
Catalogue of the Cyprus Museum, p. 32). 

2 Sayce, Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archceology, 
1877, v. part ii. ; Bczold, Zeitschrift fur Keilinschrift, 1885, 
pp. 191-3. 


clay tablet was also introduced to the people of the 
West. Though the clay tablets found by Dr. Evans 
and others in Krete may not go back to so remote a 
date, the linear Kretan characters belong to the same 
system of writing as the Cypriote syllabary, and an 
inscription in the letters of this syllabary on a seal- 
cylinder from the early copper-age cemetery of 
Paraskevi near Nikosia has recently been published 
by myself. 1 We may infer that the prototypes of the 
tablets of Knossos or Phaestos once existed in Cyprus 
and Syria, though in the damp climate of the 
Mediterranean the unbaked clay of which they were 
made has long since returned to its original dust. 

A few centuries after the age of Sargon of Akkad 
we find Gudea, a Sumerian prince in Southern 
Babylonia, bringing limestone from "the land of the 
Amorites," blocks of alabaster from the Lebanon, 
and beams of cedar from Mount Amanus, for his 
buildings in the city of Lagas. Gold-dust and acacia 
wood were at the same time imported from the 
"salt" desert which lay between Palestine and 
Egypt, and stones from the mountains of the Taurus, 
to the north-east of the Gulf of Antioch, were floated 
down the Euphrates on rafts. 2 At a later date we 
hear of the kings of the Babylonian dynasty which 
had its capital at Ur, conducting military expeditions 
to the district of the Lebanon. 

1 Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archceology, Novem- 
ber 1905, plate No. 11. 

2 A cadastral survey, which was drawn up at this period under 
Uru-malik, or Urimelech, "the governor of the land of the 
Amorites," would, if perfect, have given us an interesting de- 
scription of Syria and Palestine in the third millennium before 
our era ; see Thureau Dangin in the Revue Se'mitique, Avril 


About B.C. 2100 Northern Babylonia was occupied 
by a dynasty of kings, whose names show that they 
belonged to the Western division of the Semitic 
family. The language of Canaan — better known to 
us as Hebrew — and that of Southern and North- 
eastern Arabia, were at the time substantially one 
and the same, and as the same deities were wor- 
shipped and the same ancestors were claimed 
throughout this portion of the Semitic world, Assyri- 
ologists are not agreed as to whether the dynasty in 
question should be regarded as coming from Canaan 
or from Southern Arabia. The Babylonians them- 
selves called the names Amorite, so it is possible 
that they would have pronounced the kings to have 
been Amorite also. The point, however, is of little 
moment ; the fact remains that Northern Babylonia 
passed under the rule of sovereigns who belonged to 
the Western and not to the Babylonian branch of the 
Semitic race, and who made Babylon their capital. 
The contract tablets and other legal documents of this 
period show that Babylonia was at the time full of 
Amorite, that is Canaanite, settlers, most of whom 
had come there for the sake of trade. At Sippara 
there was a district called " the field of the Amorites," 
over which, therefore, they must have had full legal 
rights. Indeed, it would seem that in the eyes of the 
law the Amorite settlers were on a complete footing 
of equality with the natives of the country. 

This fact, so little in harmony with our ordinary 
idea of the exclusiveness of the ancient East, is 
largely explained by the further fact that Canaan 
and Syria were now acknowledged portions of the 
Babylonian Empire. When Babylonia was conquered 


by the Elamites, and the West Semitic king of 
Babylon allowed to retain his crown as an Elamitc 
vassal, his claim to rule over " the land of the 
Amorites " passed naturally to his suzerain. Accord- 
ingly we find Chedor-laomer of Elam in the Book of 
Genesis marching to Canaan to put down a local 
rebellion there, while Eri-Aku, or Arioch, of Larsa, 
at the same date describes an Elamite prince as 
"governor of the land of the Amorites." When 
Khammu-rabi, or Amraphel, the king of Babylon, 
at last succeeded in shaking off the Elamite yoke 
and making himself monarch of a free and united 
Babylonia, " the land of the Amorites " followed the 
fortunes of Babylonia as a matter of course. On a 
monument discovered at Diarbekir, in Northern 
Mesopotamia, the only title taken by the Babylonian 
sovereign is that of " king of the land of the Amor- 
ites." And the same title is borne by one at least of 
his successors in the dynasty. 

For more than two thousand years, therefore, 
Western Asia was more or less closely attached to 
Babylonia. At times it was as much a part of the 
dominions of the Babylonian king as the cities of 
Babylonia itself, and it is consequently not surprising 
that it should have become thoroughly interpenetrated 
with Babylonian culture. There was an excellent 
postal service connecting Canaan with Babylonia 
which went back to the days of Naram-Sin, and some 
of the clay bulla which served as stamps for the 
official correspondence at that period are now in the 
Museum of the Louvre. 1 On the other hand, a clay 
docket has been found in the Lebanon, dated in the 

1 See Heuzey, in the Revue cPAssyriologze, 1897, pp. 1-12. 


reign of the son of Khammu-rabi, which contains one 
of the notices sent by the Babylonian Government to 
its officials at the beginning of each year, in order 
that they might know what was its official title and 
date. 1 

When this close connection between Babylonia 
and its Syrian provinces was broken off we do not as 
yet know. Perhaps it did not take place until the 
conquest of Babylonia by a horde of half-civilized 
mountaineers from Elam about B.C. 1800. At any 
rate, from this time forward, though the influence of 
Babylonian culture continued, Babylonian rule in the 
West was at an end. From the Tel el-Amarna 
correspondence we learn that the Babylonian Govern- 
ment was still inclined to intrigue in Palestine ; the 
memories of its ancient empire were not altogether 
obliterated, and just as the English sovereigns called 
themselves kings of France long after they had 
ceased to possess an inch of French ground, so the 
Babylonian kings doubtless persuaded themselves 
that they were still by right the rulers of Canaan. 

The wild mountaineers from the Kossaean high- 
lands who had conquered Babylon soon passed under 
the spell of Babylonian culture, and became them- 
selves Babylonian in habits, if not in name. They 
founded a dynasty which lasted for five hundred and 
seventy-six years and nine months. It is a curious 

1 This was "the year when Samsu-iluna the king gave 
Merodach a shining mace of gold and silver, the glory of the 
temple ; it made E-Saggil (the temple of Bel-Merodach at 
Babylon) shine like the stars of heaven." The title of the year 
was derived from the chief event, or events, that characterized 
it. See Dr. Pinches, in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine 
Exploration Fund, April and July 1900, pp. 269-73. 


coincidence that Egypt also was governed about the 
same time by foreign conquerors, whose primitive 
wildness had been tamed by the influences of Egyp- 
tian civilization, which they had adopted as the 
Kossaean mountaineers adopted that of Babylonia, 
and whose rule also lasted for more than five hundred 
years. The Hyksos who conquered Egypt have been 
convincingly shown by recent discoveries to have 
been Semites, speaking a language of the West 
Semitic type. 1 They came from Canaan, and their 
conquest of Egypt made of it a dependency of 
Canaan. Hence they fixed their head-quarters in 
the northern part of their Egyptian territories, where 
they could easily keep up communication with Asia. 

The excavations undertaken by the Palestine 
Exploration Fund at Lachish, Gezer and other sites 
in Southern Canaan have made it clear that throughout 
the Hyksos period Egypt and that part of Palestine 
were closely connected with one another. How much 
further eastward the government or influence of the 
Hyksos may have extended we do not know ; the 
figure of a lion inscribed with the name of a Hyksos 
Pharaoh has been discovered in Babylonia, but this 
may have been brought from elsewhere. At any 
rate, so far as Palestine is concerned, we may say 

1 See my analysis of some of the Hyksos names in the 
Proceedings oftlie Society oj Biblical Archceology, 1901, pp. 95-8. 
Since the publication of the Paper other names of the same 
type, like Rabu and Sakti, have come to light. The character- 
istic names of the Hyksos princes recur among the " Amorite" 
names found in the contract tablets of the Khammu-rabi period, 
but not later. The abbreviated forms of the names met with on 
the Egyptian scarabs are also found in the tablets. Indeed, the 
contracted form of Ya'qub-el, that is to say, Yakubu, with k instead 
of q, must have been transcribed from a cuneiform original. 



that the Hyksos period in Egypt coincides with the 
disappearance of Babylonian rule in Canaan. From 
that time onward Canaan looks towards Egypt, and 
not towards Babylonia. 

But even before the beginning of the Hyksos 
period Canaan — or at all events Southern Canaan — is 
Egyptian rather than Babylonian. That has been 
abundantly proved by Mr. Macalister's excavations at 
Gezer. Objects of the age of the Twelfth dynasty 
have been disinterred there, and of such a character 
as to make it evident that the country was already 
subject to Egyptian influence long before the appear- 
ance of the Hyksos. An Egyptian of that age was 
buried within the precincts of the consecrated " high 
place," and a stela commemorating him erected on the 

Both at Gezer and at Lachish it has been possible 
to trace the archaeological chronology of the sites by 
the successive cities which arose upon them. Gezer 
was the older settlement of the two ; its history goes 
back to the neolithic age, when it was inhabited by a 
race of short stature who lived in caves and burned 
their dead, and whose pottery was of the roughest 
description. Some of it was ornamented with streaks 
of red or black on a yellow or red wash, like coarse 
pottery of the age of the Third Egyptian dynasty 
which I have found in so-called " prehistoric " 
graves at El-Kab. Two settlements of the neolithic 
population can be made out, one resting upon the 
other ; in the second there was a distinct advance in 
civilization, and the place became a town surrounded 
by a wall. The neolithic race was succeeded by a 
taller race with Semitic characteristics, to whom the 


name of Amorite has been given ; they buried the 
dead in a contracted position, and were acquainted 
with the use of copper and later of bronze. The city 
was now defended by a solid wall of stone, intersected 
with brick towers ; as Mr. Macalister observes, in a 
country where stone is the natural building material 
the employment of brick must be due to foreign in- 
fluence. He thinks the influence was Egyptian ; this 
is very possible ; but considering that building with 
brick was a salient feature in Babylonian civiliza- 
tion, the influence may have come rather from the 
side of Babylonia. 

The first " Amorite " city at Gezer was coeval with 
the earliest city at Lachish — the modern Tel el-Hesy, 
where the Amorite settlers had no neolithic pre- 
decessors. At Gezer their sanctuary has been 
discovered. It was a " high place " formed of nine 
great monoliths running from north to south, and 
surrounded by a platform of large stones. The 
second monolith, polished with the kisses of the 
worshippers, was possibly the central object of 
veneration, the bcetylos or beth-el, as it was termed. 1 
This beth-el, or "house of God," takes us back to 
Semitic Babylonia. The veneration of isolated stones 
was common to all branches of the Semitic race ; it 
may have come down to them from the days when 
their ancestors wandered over the desert plains of 
Arabia, where the solitary rocks assumed fantastic 
shapes that appealed to their imagination and excited 

1 Macalister, Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration 
Fund, January 1903, p. 28. It is the seventh stone, however, 
which alone has been brought from a distance — the neighbour- 
hood of Jerusalem — all the others being of local origin {Quarterly 
Statement, July 1904, pp. 194-5). 


feelings of awe, while their shadows offered a welcome 
retreat in the heat of noon-day. In the historical age, 
however, it was not the rock itself that was adored, 
but the divinity whose home it had become by con- 
secration with oil. The brick-built temple was called 
by the Babylonians a bit-ili, beth-el, or " house of God," 
and the name was easily transferred to the consecrated 
stones, the worship of which was coeval with the 
beginnings of Semitic history. But though the 
worship of stones was primitive, the belief that the 
stone was not a fetish, but the shrine of divinity, 
belonged to an age of reflection and points to a 
Babylonian source. 

The first Amorite city at Gezer was succeeded by 
a second, in which the high place underwent enlarge- 
ment and was provided with a temenos. Under its 
pavement have been found memorials of the grim 
rites performed in honour of its Baal — the bones of 
children and even adults who had been sacrificed and 
sometimes burnt and then deposited in jars. Similar 
sacrifices, it would seem, were offered when a new 
building was erected, since children's bones have been 
disinterred from under the foundations of houses, both 
at Gezer and at Taanach and Megiddo. The bones 
were placed in jars along with lamps and bowls, 
which, it has been suggested, were intended to receive 
the blood of the victim. The old sacred cave of the 
neolithic race was now brought into connection with 
the high place of the " Amorite " settlers, and the 
skeleton of a child has been found in it resting on a 
flat stone. 

This fourth city at Gezer — the second since the 
Semites first settled there — has yielded objects which 


enable us to assign to it an approximate date. These 
objects are Egyptian, and belong to the age of the 
Twelfth dynasty. Many of them are scarabs, but 
there is also the tombstone of the Egyptian who was 
buried under the shadow of the Amorite sanctuary. 
Fragments of diorite and alabaster vases also occur, 
telling of trade with Egypt, and in the upper and 
later part of the stratum painted pottery makes its 
appearance similar to that met with in the corre- 
sponding stratum at Lachish. I shall have more to 
say about this painted pottery in the next chapter • 
here it is sufficient to state that it is related to the 
early painted pottery of the JEgean, but is itself of 
Hittite origin, and can be traced back to the Hittite 
centre in Cappadocia. 

The fourth city had a long existence. It lasted 
from the period of the Twelfth Egyptian dynasty to 
the middle of the Eighteenth. Then it was ruined by 
an enemy and its old wall partially destroyed — doubt- 
less by Thothmes III. when he conquered Palestine 
(about B.C. 1480). Upon its ruins rose another 
Amorite town. A new city wall was built of larger 
circumference and greater strength ; it measured 
fourteen feet in thickness, and the stones of which it was 
composed were large and well shaped. The houses 
erected on the debris of the brick towers belonging to 
the old wall were rilled with scarabs, beads, fragments 
of pottery and other objects contemporary with the 
reign of Amon-hotep III. (B.C. 1400). At Lachish the 
ruins of the third city were full of similar objects, and 
among them was a cuneiform tablet in which refer- 
ence is made to the governor of Lachish mentioned in 
the Tel el-Amarna correspondence. At Taanach the 


Austrian excavators discovered an archive-chamber, 
the contents of which were of the same age. Taanach 
was merely a third-rate or fourth-rate town, but its 
shekh possessed a fortified residence, in a subterranean 
chamber of which his official records and private 
correspondence were kept in a coffer of terra-cotta. 
They were all in the Babylonian language and script. 
Among them is a list of the number of men each 
landowner (?) was required to furnish for the local 
militia, and there are also the letters which passed 
between the shekh and his friends about their private 
affairs. How little of an official character is to be 
found in these letters may be gathered from the 
following translation of one of them : " To Istar-yisur 
(writes) Guli-Hadad. — Live happily ! May the gods 
grant health to yourself, your house and your sons ! 
You have written to me about the money . . . and 
behold I will give fifty pieces of silver, since this has 
not (yet) been done. — Again : Why have you sent 
your salutation here afresh ? All you have heard 
there I have (already) learned through Bel-ram. — 
Again : If the finger of the goddess Asherat appears, 
let them announce (the omen) and observe (it), and 
you shall describe to me both the sign and the fact. 
As to your daughter, we know the one, Salmisa, who 
is in the city of Rabbah, and if she grows up, you 
must give her to the prince ; she is in truth fit for a 
lord." 1 

These Taanach letters are a final proof, if any were 
needed, of the completely Babylonian nature of 
Canaanitish civilization in the century before the 

1 See Sellin, Tell TcCa.7inek (1904) and Eine Nachlese auf 
dem Tell Tdannek in P alas Una (1905). 


Exodus. When we find the petty shekhs of 
obscure Canaanite towns corresponding with one 
another on the trivial matters of every-day life in the 
foreign language and syllabary of Babylonia, it is 
evident that Babylonian influence was still as strong 
in Palestine as it had been in the days when "the 
land of the Amorites " was a Babylonian province. 
It is also evident that there must have been plenty of 
schools in which the foreign language and syllabary 
could be taught and studied, and that the clay 
literature of Babylonia had been carried to the West. 
Indeed the Tel el-Amarna collection contains proof 
of this latter fact. Along with the letters are frag- 
ments of Babylonian literary works, one of which has 
been interpunctuated in order to facilitate its reading 
by the Egyptian scholar. 

On the other hand, apart from the cuneiform tablets 
the more strictly archaeological evidence of Baby- 
lonian influence upon Canaan is extraordinarily 
scanty. Naturally we should discover no traces of 
" the goodly Babylonish garments " which, as we 
learn from the Book of Joshua, were imported into the 
country, the climate of Palestine not being favourable 
to their preservation ; but it is certainly strange that 
so few seal-cylinders or similar objects have been 
disinterred, either at Gezer and Lachish in the south, 
or at Taanach and Megiddo in the north. What 
makes it the stranger is that Mr. Macalister has 
opened a long series of graves, beginning with the 
neolithic race and coming down to Graeco-Roman 
times, and that while the influence of Egypt is 
sufficiently visible in them, that of Babylonia is 
almost entirely absent. It is true that a few seal- 


cylinders have been met with in the excavations on 
the city sites, but with the exception of one found 
at Taanach 1 I do not know of any that can be said 
to be of purely Babylonian manufacture ; most of 
them are of Syrian make, and represent a Syrian 
modification of the Babylonian type. And yet there 
are seal-cylinders from the Lebanon, now in the 
Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, which are purely 
Babylonian in origin, and belong to the period of 
Khammu-rabi. 2 There are also two seal-cylinders of 
later pattern in M. de Clercq's collection, on which 
are representations of the Egyptian gods Set and 
Horus — similar to those found on scarabs from the 
Delta of the time of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth 
dynasties — as well as of the Canaanite god Reshef, 
accompanied by cuneiform inscriptions which on 
palaeographic grounds must be assigned to the age 
of the Tel el-Amarna tablets. As the inscriptions 
record the names of Hadad-sum and his son Anniy, 
" citizens of Sidon, the crown of the gods," we know 
that they have come from the Phoenician coast. 3 
Like the cuneiform tablets, they bear witness to 
the long-continued influence of Babylonian culture 
in Canaan on its literary side. 

When we turn to theology and law, the same 
influence is recognizable. The deities of Canaan 
were to a large extent Babylonian, with Babylonian 
names. The Babylonian gods Ana, Nebo, Rimmon 
(Ramman), Hadad and Dagon meet us in the names 

1 Tell Ta'annek, pp. 27-8. The cylinder is earlier than B.C. 

2 See my Patriarchal Palestine, pp. 60, 61. 

3 Collection De Clercg, Catalogue tnethodique et raisonnd, i. 
p. 217. 


of places and persons, and Ashtoreth, who shared 
with Baal the devotion of the inhabitants of Palestine, 
is the Babylonian Istar with the suffix of the feminine 
attached to her name. Even Asherah, in whom 
Semitic scholars were long inclined to see a genuinely 
Canaanitish goddess, turns out to have been of 
Babylonian origin, and to be the feminine counter- 
part of Asir, or Asur, the national god of Assyria. 
The recently-discovered legal code of Khammu-rabi 
has shown that such glimpses as we have in the Book 
of Genesis of the laws and legal customs of Canaan 
in the patriarchal age all presuppose Babylonian 
law. From time to time usages are referred to and 
laws implied which have no parallel in the Mosaic 
code, and are therefore presumably pre-Israelite. 
But though they have no parallel in the Mosaic 
code, we have now learnt that they were all provided 
for in the code of Khammu-rabi. Thus Abram's 
adoption of his slave and house-steward Eliezer is 
in strict accordance with the provisions of the old 
Babylonian law. Adoption, indeed, which was prac- 
tically unknown among the Israelites, was a leading 
feature in Babylonian life, and the childless man was 
empowered to adopt an heir, even from among his 
slaves, to whom he left his name and his property. 
So, again, Sarai's conduct in regard to Hagar, or 
Rachel's conduct in regard to Bilhah, is explained 
by the Babylonian enactment which allowed the 
wife to present her husband with a concubine ; while 
we can now understand why Hagar was not sold 
after her quarrel with Sarai, for the Babylonian law 
laid down that " if a man has married a wife, and she 
has given a concubine to her husband by whom he 


has had a child, should the concubine afterwards 
have a dispute with her mistress because she has 
borne children, her mistress cannot sell her ; she can 
only lay a task upon her and make her live with the 
other slaves." 

In the account of Isaac's marriage with Rebekah 
it is again a provision of the old Babylonian code 
with which we meet. There we hear of the bride 
receiving a dowry from the father of the bridegroom, 
and of other presents being made to her mother in con- 
formity with Babylonian usage. So, too, the infliction 
of death by burning with which Judah threatened 
his daughter-in-law Tamar, on the supposition that 
she was a widow, has its explanation in the legislation 
of Khammu-rabi, where the same punishment is 
enacted against a nun who has been unfaithful to 
her vows of virginity or widowhood. The story of 
the purchase of the cave of Machpelah, moreover, 
has long been recognized by Assyriologists as pre- 
supposing an acquaintance with the legal forms of 
a Babylonian sale of land in the Khammu-rabi age. 

With all this heritage of Babylonian culture, there- 
fore, it is curious that the excavators in Palestine 
have come across so few material evidences of inter- 
course with Babylonia. Mr. Macalister is inclined to 
believe that it must belong to a period anterior to 
the Twelfth Egyptian dynasty. But this raises a 
chronological question of some difficulty. We have 
seen that the earlier and inner city wall of Gezer 
served as the defence of three successive settlements, 
and that it was partially destroyed along with the 
city it protected about B.C. 1480. Now the outer and 
more massive wall which superseded it also served 


to protect three cities, the latest of which was 
deserted during the Maccabean period, about B.C. 
100. Hence, Mr. Macalister argues, " if we may 
assume the rate of growth to have been fairly 
uniform, we are led back to B.C. 2900 as the (latest) 
date" for the foundation of the first wall. During 
this long period of time twenty-eight feet of debris 
accumulated ; below this are as much as twelve feet 
of neolithic accumulation. 1 

The conquests of Sargon of Akkad would accord- 
ingly have fallen within the neolithic epoch. But in 
this case it is strange that the use of copper, with 
which Babylonia had long been acquainted, was not 
communicated to its Western province, and that it 
should have needed a new race and the lapse of 
nearly a thousand years for its introduction. More- 
over, specific evidences of Babylonian civilization are 
quite as much wanting in the remains of the first 
Amorite city as they are in those of the second. 
And unless we adopt a date for the Twelfth Egyptian 
dynasty, which on other grounds seems out of the 
question, it is hard to see how the Khammu-rabi 
dynasty can be placed before it. What little evi- 
dence we possess at present goes to indicate that 
the Khammu-rabi dynasty was contemporaneous 
with the earlier Hyksos kings or their immediate 
predecessors. And yet not only do we know that 
the Khammu-rabi dynasty ruled in Palestine, but the 
adoption of the cuneiform script, which was at least 
as old as the age of that dynasty, as well as the 
testimony of theology and law, proves that its rule 

1 Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 
January 1905, pp. 28, 29. 


must have exercised a profound and permanent 
influence upon the people of Canaan. How is it, 
then, that while the excavations have brought to 
light so many evidences of Egyptian domination, 
there is so little in the way of material objects to 
show that Palestine was once and for several centuries 
a Babylonian province ? l 

Perhaps the excavations which are still proceeding 
at Megiddo may throw some light upon the problem. 
Meanwhile, we may remember that thus far the 
greater part of the objects that have been found 
belong to the less wealthy and educated part of the 
population. The annals of Thothmes III. prove that, 
so far as the upper classes were concerned, the picture 
of Canaanitish luxury presented in the Old Testament 
had a foundation of fact. Among the spoils taken 
from the princes of Canaan we hear of tables, chairs 
and staves of cedar and ebony inlaid or gilded with 
gold, of a golden plough and sceptre, of richly- 
embroidered stuffs similar to those depicted on the 
walls of the Egyptian monuments, of chariots chased 
with silver, of iron tent-poles studded with precious 
stones, and of "bowls with goats' heads on them, and 
one with a lion's head, the workmanship of the land 

1 The chronological difficulty, however, would be partially 
solved if the date recently proposed by Professor Petrie 
{Researches in Sinai, ch. xii.) for the Twelfth dynasty — B.C. 
3459-3250 — be adopted. The Twelfth dynasty would in this 
case have reigned a thousand years before the dynasty of 
Khammu-rabi, whose domination in Palestine would have been 
an interlude in the history of the Hyksos period, while the 
conquest of Canaan by Sargon and Naram-Sin would have 
coincided with the supersession of the neolithic population by 
the "Amorites," who brought with them the copper and the 
culture of Babylonia. 


of the Zahi," that is to say, of the Canaanitish coast. 
These latter were doubtless imitations of the gold 
and silver cups with double handles and animals' 
heads imported from Krete, which were also received 
as tribute from the Canaanitish princes by the 
Egyptian king. Other gifts comprised chariots plated 
with gold, iron armour with gold inlay, a helmet of 
gold inlaid with lapis-lazuli, the tusks of elephants, 
rings of gold and silver that were used as money, 
copper and lead, as well as jars of wine, oil and 
balsam. Of all these articles, the copper and lead 
excepted, it is needless to say next to nothing has 
been discovered by the excavators. The most 
valuable work of art yet met with is a bronze sword 
of precisely the same shape as one found in Assyria, 
which bears upon it the name of Hadad-nirari I. 
(B.C. 1330). 1 

On the palaeographical side the forms of the 
cuneiform characters used in Canaan go back to 
the script of the age of Khammu-rabi and his pre- 
decessors. From a purely Assyriological point of 
view, no regard being had to other considerations, 
I should date their introduction into Palestine about 
B.C. 2300. The chronology that would best harmonize 
the historical facts would thus be one which made 
the dominance of Egypt in Palestine under the 
Twelfth dynasty precede the Babylonian rule of 
the Khammu-rabi period. Against it is the negative 

1 Unless we except the gold and silver ornaments found on 
the body of a woman in a deserted house at Taanach, which, as 
Dr. Sellin says, are by themselves sufficient to remove ''all 
grounds for doubting such accounts as those in Joshua vii. 21, 
and Judges viii. 26 {Eine Nachlese anf dem Tell Tafannek, 

P- 32). 


evidence of archaeological discovery, so few traces of 
this rule having been discovered in the course of 
the excavations. But neither in archseology nor in 
anything else is negative evidence of much value. 

At any rate, thanks to the decipherment of the 
cuneiform inscriptions, the main facts are clear. 
Canaan was once a province of the Babylonian 
Empire, and during the long period of time that this 
was the case it became permeated with the literary 
culture of Babylonia. The civilization which was 
partially destroyed by the Israelitish invasion had 
its roots in the valley of the Euphrates. 

Gezer, it is true, was one of the cities in which no 
visible break with the past was made by the irruption 
of the desert tribes. It escaped capture by the in- 
vaders, and it was only in the reign of Solomon, when 
the Israelites had already entered into the heritage 
of the old Canaanitish culture, that it was handed 
over by the king of Egypt to his Jewish son-in-law. 
But at Lachish the marks of the destruction of the 
town by Joshua are still visible. Above the ruins of 
the Amorite cities is a bed of ashes left by the 
charcoal-burners who squatted on the site before it 
was again rebuilt. Above the stratum of ashes all 
must be Israelitish, and the objects found in the 
remains of the cities that stand upon it testify 
accordingly to a complete change. No more cunei- 
form tablets are met with, and but few Egyptian 
scarabs; the pottery is different, and the "high place" 
has disappeared. The bowl and lamp, indeed, are 
still buried under the walls of the newly-built house, 
but the bones of sacrificed children which they once 
contained are replaced by sand. As the Israelitish 


power increased the old Babylonian influence neces- 
sarily lessened. When the cuneiform syllabary finally 
made way for the so-called Phoenician alphabet is 
still uncertain, but it was at all events before the 
days of Solomon. Already in the Amorite period 
the characters of the Kretan linear script discovered 
by Dr. Evans are found scratched on fragments of 
pottery, indicating that besides the cuneiform another 
form of writing was known ; it may be that the 
Israelitish conquest, by destroying the centres of 
Canaanitish civilization and the schools of the scribes, 
gave a first blow to the tradition of Babylonian 
learning, and that the work of destruction was 
subsequently completed by the Philistine wars. 



If it has been a surprise to learn that Palestine was 
once within the circle of Babylonian culture, it has 
been equally a surprise to learn that Asia Minor was 
so too. It is true that Herodotus traced the Herakleid 
dynasty of Lydian kings to the gods of Nineveh and 
Babylon, that Strabo knew of a " mound of Semiramis " 
in Cappadocia, and that in the Book of Genesis Lud is 
called the son of Shem. But historians had long 
agreed that all such beliefs were creations of a later 
day, and rested on no substratum of fact. The 
northern limits of Babylonian or Assyrian influence, it 
was held, were fixed by the Taurus and the mountains 
of Kurdistan. 

The discoveryof cuneiform inscriptions on the stones 
and rocks of Armenia made the first breach in this 
conclusion. Their existence was known even before 
Botta and Layard had opened up Nineveh. In 1826 
Schulz had been sent by the French Government at 
the instance of M. Mohl to copy the mysterious 
characters which had already excited the attention of 
Oriental writers. Schulz was unexpectedly successful 
in his quest. The number of inscriptions he discovered 
was far larger than had been imagined, and his copies 



of them, as we now know, were remarkably accurate. 
But the explorer himself never lived to return to 
Europe. He was murdered by a Kurdish chief, 
Nurallah Bey, in 1829, while engaged in the work of 
exploration; his papers, however, were eventually 
recovered, and the inscriptions he had copied were 
published in 1840 in the Journal of the Societe Asia- 
tique. One of them was a trilingual inscription of 
Xerxes, the Persian transcript of which was just 
beginning to be deciphered ; the rest were still a closed 

Then came the discovery of Nineveh and the first 
essays at the interpretation of the Assyro-Babylonian 
texts. Layard himself made an expedition to 
Armenia, and besides recopying Schulz's texts and 
correcting certain inaccuracies in them, added con- 
siderably to the collection. Dr. Hincks, with his usual 
genius for decipherment, perceived that the syllabary 
in which they were written was the same as that used 
at Nineveh, and utilized them for determining the 
values of some of the Assyrian characters. He 
succeeded in reading most of the proper names, in 
assigning the inscriptions to a group of kings whose 
order he was able to fix, and in pointing out that 
many of them contain an account of military 
campaigns and of the amount of booty which had 
been carried off. But it was also clear that the in- 
scriptions were not in a Semitic language, and as the 
nominative and accusative of the noun seemed to 
terminate in -s and -n, while the patronymic was ex- 
pressed by the suffix -khinis, the decipherer assumed 
that the language was Indo-European. The most 
important texts had been found in or near Van, which 



had apparently been the capital of the kings by whose 
orders they had been engraved, and the name of 
Vannic, accordingly, was given to both texts and 

It was soon recognized that Dr. Hincks had been 
in error in suggesting that the Vannic language was 
Indo-European. It was, it is true, inflectional, but 
with this any resemblance to the languages of the 
Indo-European family ceased. Nor was there any 
other language or group of languages to which it 
appeared to be related, and all attempts failed to 
advance the decipherment much beyond the point at 
which it had been left by Hincks. Thanks to the 
"determinatives," which indicate proper names and 
the like, and the ideographs, which are fairly plentiful, 
the general sense of many of the inscriptions could be 
made out ; but beyond that it seemed impossible to 
go. Lenormant, indeed, following Hincks, showed 
that the suffix -bi denoted the first person singular of 
the verb, and indicated Georgian as possibly a related 
language ; but in the hands of other would-be 
decipherers, like Robert and Mordtmann, there was 
retrogression instead of advance. 

So matters remained until 1882, when Stanislas 
Guyard pointed out the parallelism between a formula 
which occurs at the end of many Vannic inscriptions 
and the imprecatory formula of the Assyrian texts. 
I had already been struck by the same fact, and was 
at the time preparing a Memoir on the decipherment 
and translation of the inscriptions, which shortly after- 
wards appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society. In this I had made use of Layard's copies, 
which had never been published ; other copies also, 

''Wit I 


including photographs, squeezes and casts, had been 
placed at my disposal, and in 1882 I was able to lay 
before cuneiform scholars a grammar and vocabulary 
of the Vannic language, together with translations and 
analyses of all the known texts. 1 These have been 
subsequently corrected and extended by other Assyri- 
ologists — Guyard, D. H. Miiller, Nikolsky, Scheil, 
Belck and Lehmann, as well as by myself. An ordin- 
ary Vannic text can now be translated with nearly 
as much completeness and certainty as an Assyrian 
text, and the number of them known to us has been 
greatly enlarged by the archaeological explorations of 
Belck and Lehmann. 

In the decipherment of the Vannic inscriptions the 
ideographs and determinatives which are scattered 
through them took the place for me of a bilingual text. 
The determinatives told me what was the nature of 
the words which followed or preceded them, and so 
explained the general sense of the passages in which 
they occurred, while from time to time a phonetically- 
written word would be replaced in a parallel passage 
by an ideograph the signification of which was known. 
I soon found, moreover, that the cuneiform syllabary 
must have been brought from Nineveh to Van in the 
age of Assur-natsir-pal II. (B.C. 884-859), and that the 
actual phrases met with in the inscriptions of that 
monarch are sometimes reproduced in a Vannic dress. 
The Vannic language, however, still remains isolated, 
though the majority of those who have studied it 
incline to Lenormant's view that its nearest living 
representative is Georgian. Not being a Georgian 

1 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, xiv. 3, 4, pp. 


scholar myself, this is a point upon which I can 
express no opinion. 

Instead of " Vannic," it has been proposed to call 
the language " Khaldian." The chief god of the people 
whospoke the language was Khaldis,and in the inscrip- 
tions we find the people themselves described as " the 
children of Khaldis." Derivatives from the name are 
found employed in a geographical sense northward of 
the region to which the inscriptions belong. Thus the 
Khaldi " in the neighbourhood of Colchis " are said 
to have been also called Khaldaei ; * " Khaldees " are 
frequently referred to by Armenian writers as living 
between Trapezont and Batum, and a Turkish inscrip- 
tion at Sumela shows that as late as the beginning of 
the fifteenth century Lazistan was still known as 
Khaldia. That the name was ever applied, however, 
to the kingdom which had its chief seat at Van is not 
proved, and it is therefore best to adhere to the term 
" Vannic," which commits those who use it to no theory. 2 

The decipherment of the Vannic texts has not only 
led to the discovery of a new language, it has also 
thrown a flood of light on the early history, geography 
and religion of the Armenian plateau. The military 
campaigns of the Assyrian kings had brought it into 
contact with Assyrian civilization, and in the ninth 
century before our era a dynasty arose which adopted 
the literary culture and art of Assyria, and founded a 
powerful kingdom which extended its sway from 
Urumia on the east to Malatia on the west, and from 

1 Eustathius on Dion. Perieget. 767. See Lehmann in the 
Zeitschrift fur A ssyriologie, 1894, pp. 90 and 358-60. 

8 The Vannic kings always call themselves kings, not of the 
Khaldians, but of Biainas or Bianas, the Byana of Ptolemy, the 
Van of to-day. 


the slopes of Ararat and the shores of Lake Erivan to 
the northern frontiers of Assyria. 

The main fact which has thus been disclosed is that 
the Armenians of history — the Aryan tribes, that is 
to say, who spoke an Indo-European language — did 
not enter the country and establish themselves in the 
place of its older rulers before the end of the seventh 
century before our era. The fall of the Vannic mon- 
archy seems to have coincided with the fall of the 
Assyrian Empire, with which it had once contended 
on almost equal terms, and in each case the invasion 
of the so-called Scythian hordes from the plains of 
Eastern Europe had much to do with the result. The 
founders of Armenian civilization and of the cities of 
the Armenian plateau had no connection with the 
Indo-European family. Their type of language corre- 
sponded with that which distinguishes most of the 
actual languages of the Caucasus, though no genetic 
relationship is traceable between them. The break 
with the past, however, occasioned by the irruption of 
the Indo-European invaders, was so great that not 
only did the older language become extinct and for- 
gotten, but even the tradition of the older civilization 
was also lost. Like the recovery of the Sumerian 
language and the culture it represented, the recovery 
of the Vannic language and culture is the revelation 
of a new world. 

At the head of the pantheon was a trinity consist- 
ing of Khaldis, the supreme god of the race ; Teisbas, 
the god of the air ; and the Sun-god Ardinis. Temples 
were erected in their honour, and shields and spears 
dedicated to their service. The vine, which grows 
wild in Armenia, was the sacred tree of the people, 


and there are inscriptions which commemorate its 
planting and consecration, and describe the endow- 
ments that were set apart for its maintenance. Wine 
was naturally offered to the gods along with the 
domestic animals and prisoners of war. Dr. Belck 
has discovered burial-places which go back to the 
neolithic age, but the majority of the monuments 
scattered over the Vannic area belong to the bronze 
age, and testify to a native adaptation of Assyrian art 
and culture. Iron also makes its appearance, but 
scantily. The pottery of the age of the inscriptions 
is related on the one side to the Assyrian pottery of 
the same period, and on the other to the pottery of 
Asia Minor. The polished red ware more especially 
points to the west. 

The existence of a language of the Caucasian type 
in Armenia, and its association with a powerful king- 
dom and an advanced culture, is not the only revela- 
tion of the kind that we owe to cuneiform decipher- 
ment. We have learned that at a much earlier epoch 
Northern Mesopotamia was occupied by a people who 
spoke a language of similar type but of far more com- 
plicated form ; and that here, too, the language in 
question was accompanied by a high civilization, a 

1 See more especially Belck's comparison of the Vannic 
pottery with that of the Assyrian colony of Kara Eyuk, near 
Kaisariyeh, in the Verhandlufigen der Berliner anthropologisch- 
en Gesellschaft, December 1901, p. 493. Besides the highly- 
polished lustrous red ware, he found at Kara Eyuk fragments 
of the same wheel-made wine-jars, "of gigantic size," which 
characterized Toprak Kaleh, near Van. Similar jars, as well 
as lustrous red pottery, were discovered by Schliemann in the 
"prehistoric " strata at Troy. The animals' heads in terra-cotta 
found at Kara Eyuk are stated by Dr. Belck to be similar to 
those of the Digalla Tepe, near Urumiya. For further details 
see infra. 


powerful monarchy, and the use of the cuneiform 
syllabary. The monarchy was that of Mitanni, and 
its culture and script had been borrowed from Baby- 
lonia in the age of Khammu-rabi, instead of from 
Assyria in the age of Assur-natsir-pal. But it is 
interesting to observe that in borrowing the script 
the people of Mitanni had adapted and simplified it 
in precisely the same way as did the people of Van in 
after days. Superfluous characters were discarded, 
a single phonetic value only assigned to each char- 
acter, and large use made of those which expressed 
vowels. In fact, in both Mitannian and Vannic the 
system of writing begins to approach the alphabetic. 
Whether this similarity in adaptation was due to a 
similarity of phonetic structure in the two languages 
or to conscious imitation on the part of the Vannic 
scribes it is difficult to say ; it is a point, however, 
which cannot be passed over. 

The name of Mitanni meets us on the Egyptian 
monuments of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth dynas- 
ties. The kingdom played a considerable part at 
that period of time in the politics of Western Asia, 
and the daughters of its kings were married to the 
Egyptian Pharaohs. The boundaries of the Egyptian 
Empire were coterminous with those of Mitanni, and 
we gather from the Tel el-Amarna correspondence 
that the Mitannian forces had more than once made 
their way into Palestine, perhaps as far south as 
Jerusalem, and that Mitannian intrigue was active in 
that portion of the Pharaoh's dominions. Among the 
Canaanitish governors are some who bear Mitannian 
names, and testify to the continuance of a Mitannian 
element in that common meeting-place of nationalities. 


Several letters from the Mitannian king have been 
found among the Tel el-Amarna tablets. Most of 
them are written in the Babylonian language, but one 
— and fortunately an exceptionally long one — though 
in cuneiform characters, is in the native language of 
the country. A comparison of it with its companion 
letters, assisted by the determinatives and ideographs 
which are employed in it from time to time, has en- 
abled Jensen, Leopold Messerschmidt and myself to 
decipher a very considerable part of the letter, and so 
to compile a grammar and vocabulary of the Mitan- 
nian language. That it is distantly related to Vannic 
seems to admit of little doubt, but it comes before us 
in a much more developed form ; indeed, its system of 
suffixes is so elaborate and ponderous as to remind us 
of the polysynthetic languages of America. 

A legal document found in Babylonia and dated 
in the epoch of Khammu-rabi contains a number of 
proper names which are of Mitannian or allied origin, 
and show that persons of that race were already 
settled in Babylonia. 1 As the Mitannian form of 
cuneiform script must have been borrowed about the 
same time, we may infer that the advanced guard of 
the northern race had already made its way as far 
south as Mesopotamia, and there established its 
power in the midst of a Semitic population. From 
that time forward a constant struggle went on be- 
tween the two races, the Semitic race striving to 
push back the northern intruders and planting its 
own colonies in the very heart of the northern area, 

1 See Pinches in the Jourtial of the Royal Asiatic Society, 
1897, pp. 589-613 ; and myself in the Proceedings of the Society 
of Biblical Archceology, 1897, p. 286. 


while the northerners pressed ever more and more to 
the southward, and at one time even seemed likely to 
possess themselves of the heritage of the Babylonian 
Empire in Western Asia. Like Armenia, Northern 
Mesopotamia was occupied by a people of Caucasian 
and Asianic affinities, whose armies had crossed the 
Euphrates and won territory in Syria and Palestine. 

On the west, however, the Mitannians found them- 
selves confronted by another northern population, the 
Hittites, whose first home was in Cappadocia. The 
Hittites also had passed under the spell of Babylonian 
culture, and the cuneiform script had been carried to 
them at an early date. Thanks to recent discoveries, 
we can now trace in some measure the earlier fortunes 
of a race who made a profound impression, not only 
on the future history of Asia Minor and its relations 
with Greece, but also on the history of Palestine. 

As far back as about B.C. 2000, Babylonian or 
Assyrian troops had already made their way along 
the northern banks of the Tigris and Euphrates to 
the borders of Cappadocia and the neighbourhood 
of the Halys. I say Babylonian or Assyrian, for 
Assyria was at the time a province of Babylonia, 
though as the colonies which settled in the track of 
the invaders were distinctively Assyrian in their muni- 
cipal customs and the names of their inhabitants, the 
troops were probably drafted from Assyria. 1 The 
mineral wealth of Cappadocia was doubtless the 
attraction which led them to such distant and semi- 

1 Thus we find from the Cappadocian cuneiform tablets 
discovered at Kara Eyuk, north-east of Kaisariyeh, that time 
was reckoned by the annual succession of officers called livuni 
as in Assyria. 


barbarous lands ; Dr. Gladstone's analysis of the gold 
of the Sixth Egyptian dynasty, with its admixture of 
silver, has shown that it was imported from the north 
of Asia Minor, 1 and the silver itself was probably 
already worked. Further south, in the Taurus, were 
mines of copper. 

However this may be, the remains of one of these 
early Assyro-Babylonian colonies has been partially 
excavated a few miles (twenty-three kilometres) to the 
north-east of Kaisariyeh. 2 The site is now known as 
Kara Eyuk, " the Black Mound," and numerous cunei- 
form tablets have come from it. It has obtained its 
present name from the marks of fire which are every- 
where visible upon it, and bear eloquent testimony to its 
final fate. Established as an outpost of the Assyrian 
Empire in the distant west, a time came when, de- 
serted by the Government at home, its strong walls 
were battered down by the besieging foe and the 
Assyrian settlers massacred among the ruins of their 
burning town. According to M. Chantre, its ex- 
cavator (who, however, believes that it was destroyed 
by a volcanic eruption), the whole mound is a mass of 
charred and burnt remains. 

The construction of the walls, as well as the pottery 
found within them, marks it off with great distinctness 
from the ruins of the Hittite or native Cappadocian 
cities in its neighbourhood. While in their case the 
city wall is made of unmortared blocks of stone, the 
walls of Kara Eyuk are built of brick, and where 
stones are used they are of small size and cemented 
with mortar. The pottery differs considerably from 

1 Denderek, p. 62. 

2 Chantre, Mission en Cappadoce, pp. 71-91. 


that of the Hittite capital at Boghaz Keui. Some of 
it is of black ware, especially characterized by the vases 
with long spouts, which are also found in Phrygia and 
the Troad. Some of it, again, is of the dark-red 
lustrous ware which has been met with at Toprak 
Kaleh, near Van, and Boz Eyuk in Phrygia, while 
the yellow ware with geometrical patterns in black 
and maroon-red which has been discovered in Phrygia 
occurs in large quantities. This latter ware is of the 
class known as " Mykenaean." *• 

The cuneiform tablets which have come from the 
site are known as " Cappadocian," and were first 
noticed by Dr. Pinches. The forms of the characters 
resemble those of the early Babylonian script, which 
was still used in Assyria in the age of Khammu-rabi. 
Many of the proper names, moreover, seem to be dis- 

1 See Belck, Verhandhaigen der Berliner a?ithropologischen 
Gesellschaft, December 1901, p. 493 ; and the admirable plates, 
iii., vii.-xiv., in Chantre, Mission en Cappadoce. As has been 
already mentioned {supra, p. 166), Dr. Belck noticed at Kara 
Eyuk coarse sherds of great thickness coming from wine-jars 
similar to those of Toprak Kaleh. The black vases with long 
spouts have been found at Yortan and Boz Eyuk in Phrygia ; 
long-spouted vases of yellow ware with geometrical patterns in 
maroon-red on the site of Gordium. 

Chantre discovered numerous spindle-whorls in the ruins 
similar to those discovered at Troy. He also found terra- 
cotta figurines, among which the ram is the most plentiful, as 
well as covers and handles of vases in the shape of animals' 
heads, and some curious hut-urns not unlike those of Latium. 
Few bronze objects were met with, but among them were five 
flanged axe-heads of the incurved Egyptian Hyksos type, 
totally unlike the straight bronze axe-heads from Troy and 
Angora (of Egyptian I-XII dynasty form), with which M. 
Chantre compares them. The obsidian implements and stone 
celts were of the ordinary Asianic pattern. M. Chantre notes 
that whereas at Troy the terra-cotta figurines represented the 
heads of oxen or cows, at Kara Eyuk they were the heads of 
sheep, horses, and perhaps dogs. 


tinctive of that period. On the other hand, a large 
proportion of them contain the name of Asur — often 
in its primitive form of Asir — or are otherwise char- 
acteristic of Assyria. The tablets are further dated 
by the archons who gave their names to the years, a 
system of chronology which was peculiar to Assyria 
and unknown in Babylonia, while the month was 
divided into " weeks " of five days each. The 
language of the tablets also, which is full of dialectic 
mispronunciations and strange words, points to 
Assyria rather than to the southern kingdom, and 
we may therefore conclude that the colonists were 
Assyrians, even though the colony may have been 
founded when Assyria was still a Babylonian province. 
There are indications in the Assyrian inscriptions 
themselves that the road to Cappadocia was known 
to the Assyrian princes at an early epoch. The 
earliest Assyrian kings whose annals have come down 
to us are Hadad-nirari I. and his son Shalmaneser I. 
(B.C. 1300). Hadad-nirari tells us that his great- 
grandfather, Assur-yuballidh, whose letters form part 
of the Tel el-Amarna correspondence, had subdued 
" the wide-spread " province of Subari, which lay near 
the sources of the Euphrates, and in which Kara 
Eyuk was perhaps included, while he himself restored 
the cities of the same province which had fallen into 
ruin. Later, Shalmaneser I. conducted campaign after 
campaign towards the same region. In his second year 
he overthrew the king of Malatia, and the combined 
forces of the other " Hittite " states, who had come to 
his assistance : " all were conquered," from the borders 
of Cappadocia to the Hittite stronghold of Carchemish. 
A military colony was settled at the head waters of 


the Tigris which secured the high-road to Asia 

Two centuries later we learn from Tiglath-pileser I. 
that Moschians and Hittites had overrun part of this 
Assyrian territory, and occupied some of the Assyrian 
settlements. Once more, therefore, the Assyrian troops 
marched to the north-west ; the provinces which lay in 
the valley of the Murad-chai were recovered, and 
the old province of Subari cleared of intruders. Soon 
afterwards Tiglath-pileser forced his way into Southern 
Cappadocia and the valley of the Sarus, making 
Comana tributary, razing to the ground the fortresses 
that had resisted him, and erecting on their site 
chambers of brick, with bronze tablets on which his con- 
quests were recorded. Eastern Cilicia was known at the 
time to the Assyrians as Muzri, or "the Marchland," 
a clear proof that it had long formed a borderland and 
debatable territory between the Assyrian Empire and 
the nations of Asia Minor. 

It is thus evident that even before the rise of the 
Assyrian monarchy, the road that led to the mining 
districts of Cappadocia, along the valleys of the Upper 
Tigris, Euphrates and Tokhma Su, was not only known 
to the Assyro-Babylonians, but had actually constituted 
Assyrian territory, which was colonized by Assyrian 
garrisons and paid tribute to Nineveh whenever Assyria 
was strong enough to enforce its authority. At the 
eastern extremity of the road stood the city of 
unknown name, now represented by "the Burnt 
Mound " of Kara Eyuk, whose existence as an Assyro- 
Babylonian city probably dates back to the age of 

It was the outpost of Babylonian culture in Asia 


Minor. Babylonian art, and, above all, the Babylonian 
system of writing, were brought by it into the heart of 
the Hittite region, and the archaeological objects found 
there consequently become important for chronological 
dating. Not far off, on the other side of the Halys, 
rose the Hittite capital, now known as Boghaz Keui, 
the centre from which, as Professor Ramsay has 
shown, 1 the early roads of Asia Minor radiated in 
all directions. 

Boghaz Keui is being excavated at the present 
moment. Hundreds of clay tablets have already been 
found there, inscribed with cuneiform characters, the 
majority of which are in the native Hittite language, 
though many are in Semitic Babylonian, including a 
copy of the famous treaty between Ramses 1 1, and the 
Hittite king. So far as the tablets have been examined, 
they show that the Hittite empire extended from the 
west of Asia Minor to the Egyptian frontier, and that 
the cuneiform characters were used in ordinary life. 

By one of those coincidences which sometimes 
happen in archaeological research, the discovery fits 
with another fact which had long been in the posses- 
sion of the Assyriologist, though the full meaning of 
it was unknown to him. Among the Tel el-Amarna 
letters are two in a language unlike any with which we 
are acquainted. One of them is from a Hittite leader 
of condottieri, 2 who has left us two other letters which 

1 Historical Geography of Asia Minor, ch. i., ii. ; Cities and 
Bishoprics of Phrygia, i. p. xiv. 

2 Labawa, or Labbaya, for whom see the next chapter. A 
revised transcript of his letter in Arzawan (Hittite) is given by 
Knudtzon, Die zwei Arzawa-Briefe, pp. 38-40. The intro- 
ductory paragraph should read : Ata-mu kit Labbaya . . 
nicmis-la Uan-wa-nnas iskhani-tta-ra atari-ya ueni. — " To 



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II |p I 





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are in the Assyrian language, and who came from a 
town in the neighbourhood of Cilicia. The second letter 
was written to the king of Arzawa by one of the foreign 
secretaries of the Egyptian Government. But the 
situation of Arzawa was wholly uncertain; as the 
king bore the Hittite name of Tarkhundaraba, I 
suggested that it lay in the Hittite territory, and 
that consequently in the language of the letter we 
had a fragment of the Hittite language. For many 
years, however, this remained a mere conjecture, 
without any definite proofs. 

When the fragmentary tablets from Boghaz Keui 
came to be copied, it was at once perceived that they 
were in a language which resembled that of the 
Arzawa letters, but it was not until the new tablet 
from Constantinople had been cleaned and copied by 
Dr. Pinches and myself that the actual facts became 
clear. The Arzawa and Boghaz Keui texts agree in 
the forms given to the characters, in grammar and in 
vocabulary. Arzawa, therefore, must have been the 
Hittite kingdom which had its centre at Boghaz 
Keui, and already in the age of the Eighteenth 
Egyptian dynasty it was employing a form of the 
cuneiform script which implied a long preceding 
period of use and adaptation. A new realm has 
thus to be added to the domain of the cuneiform 
system of writing ; in Syria the Hittite king of 
Kadesh wrote to the Pharaoh in Babylonian, but in 
his old home in the north, though the Babylonian 

my lord says Labbaya .... thy servant of Uan (a district west 
of Aleppo) ; seven times I prostrate myself." In other letters 
Labbaya is called prince of Rukhizzi, the Rokhe's-na of the 
treaty between Ramses II. and the Hittites. 


syllabary had been adopted, the language it served to 
express was that of the Hittites themselves. 

A certain amount of this Hittite language of Arzawa 
can be deciphered, thanks to those same determinatives 
and ideographs which have assisted so materially to- 
wards the decipherment of the Vannic texts, and more 
especially to the recurrence in the two Tel el-Amarna 
letters of phrases that are common to the whole corre- 
spondence. The new tablet, however, is more than 
usually helpful, since it contains Assyrian words and 
grammatical forms which in parallel passages of the 
same text are replaced by native equivalents. In 
this way a sketch of Arzawan grammar can now 
be made, as well as a list of Arzawan words. The 
language which is thus disclosed is of an Asianic 
type, with features that remind us of Lycian on 
the one side, and of Mitannian and Vannic on 
the other. But in what may be termed the funda- 
mentals of grammar it agrees with Mitannian and 

At the same time, certain of these same fundamentals 
have a curious but superficial resemblance to what we 
have hitherto been accustomed to regard as character- 
istics of Indo-European grammar. The nominative 
and accusative of the noun, for example, are dis- 
tinguished by the suffixes -s and -n, the plural nomin- 
ative and accusative often terminate in -s, and the 
possessive pronouns of Arzawan are mis, " mine " ; 
ti-s, " thine " ; and sais), " his " ; while si is " (to) her." 
The third person of the present tense ends in -t ; es-tu, 
is " may it be " ; es-mi, " may I be." Yet with all these 
remarkable coincidences, I can assure the comparative 
philologist that Arzawan is certainly not an Indo- 


(See p. 174.) 


[To face p. 176. 


European language, and I must leave him to explain 
them as best he may. 

We have, however, learnt a good deal more about 
the Hittite populations of Asia Minor from the Tel 
el-Amaraa tablets than the nature of the language 
which they spoke. In the closing days of the 
Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty we find them on the 
southern side of the Taurus, sending forth bands of 
adventurers, who hired their services to the king of 
Egypt and to the rival governors and princes of 
Palestine, and from time to time carved out principal- 
ities of their own with the sword. We are even able 
to follow the fortunes of some of the leaders of the 
condottieri, who had no scruple in transferring their 
allegiance from one vassal prince to another when 
tempted by the prospect of better pay, or in murder- 
ing their employer when the opportunity arose, and 
plundering or occupying his city. They had, it is 
true, a wholesome awe of Egyptian power and of the 
Egyptian army, and some of the letters they wrote to 
the Egyptian court are amusing examples of the 
excuses they offered for their misdeeds. But they 
never hesitated about seizing the Pharaoh's property 
when they thought they could do so with impunity, 
while they were all the time professing to be his 
devoted slaves. A considerable number of the vassal 
princes of Canaan kept these mercenaries in their 
pay, and in many cases the Egyptian Foreign Office 
thought it wisest to confirm one of their leaders in 
the government of a district, however doubtful might 
have been the means by which it had come into his 
hands. So long as the tribute was paid, and the 
imperial authority acknowledged, no further questions 



were asked. The mercenaries were useful at times to 
the imperial forces, and the mutual jealousies and 
quarrels of the local governors were perhaps not 
altogether displeasing to the home Government. 1 

In this way bands of Hittite mercenaries came to 
be settled in various parts of Palestine, even in the 
extreme south. The sons of Arzawaya, " the Arzawan," 
established themselves in the neighbourhood of Jeru- 
salem, whose king, by the way, seems to bear a 
Mitannian name. The statement in the Book of 
Genesis that Heth was the son of Canaan receives 
a new signification from the Tel el-Amarna tablets. 

But Hittite influence in Southern Palestine goes 
back to an earlier epoch than the age of the tablets. 
The painted pottery found in the " Amorite" strata of 
Lachish and Gezer shows remarkable affinities to the 
pottery discovered by Chantre at Boghaz Keui, and 
Mr. J. L. Myres has succeeded in tracing it in a 
fairly continuous line to the region north of the 
Halys. 2 Here was found the red ochre — or sandarake, 
as it was called — which was used in the decoration 
of the pottery, and after the introduction of two other 
colours still remained the principal feature in the 
system of ornamentation. This Hittite or Cappa- 
docian pottery was carried westward along the road 
which led from Boghaz Keui towards the Troad, and 
south-eastwards across the Taurus into Syria. It 
was probably the ultimate origin of the painted 
Minoan or " Kamares " pottery of Krete. 

1 The facts were first stated in my article in the Contemporary 
Review, August 1905, pp. 264-77, which is reprinted as chapter 
vii. of the present book. 

2 Journal of the Anthropological Institute ; 1903, xxxiii. pp. 


The introduction of Hittite pottery into Canaan 
where it tended to supersede the native ware, was 
doubtless the result of trade. But in ancient Asia 
the trader and the soldier were very apt to march 
side by side. The soldier opened the way for the 
trader and kept it for him, quite as much as the 
trader opened it for the soldier. Hence it is not 
surprising that the Assyrian monuments should 
furnish incidental evidence of the Hittite occupation 
of Palestine at an early date. In the inscriptions of 
Babylonia, as we have seen, Palestine and Syria are 
" the land of the Amorites " ; the name went back to 
an immemorial antiquity, and indicates that at the 
time it was first given the Amorites were the ruling 
population in the West But in the Assyrian in- 
scriptions the place of the Amorites is taken by the 
Hittites. For the Assyrians, Syria is "the land of 
the Hittites," and in the later historical texts even 
the Israelites and Philistines are classed as " Hittite." 1 

Canaan, however, was already well known to the 
Assyrians in the age of the Tel el-Amarna corre- 
spondence, when the ambassadors of the Assyrian 
king carried letters and presents through it to the 
Pharaoh. It must, therefore, have been at a still 
earlier period that they first became acquainted with 
it, and at this period Hittite influence must have 
been so predominant as to cause them to discard the 
name of Amorite, consecrated though it was by the 
long-continued usage of Babylonian literature, and to 
employ instead of it the name of Hittite. 

1 By Shalmaneser II. {Black Obelisk, 61) and Sargon. Sen- 
nacherib describes his famous campaign against Phoenicia and 
Judah as made " to the land of the Hittites." 


But it was in the direction of the Greek seas that 
Hittite influence was most powerful. Through Asia 
Minor Babylonian culture penetrated to the West. 
A native imitation of the Babylonian seal-cylinder was 
found by Dr. Schliemann in the ruins of Hissarlik, 1 
and the so-called "heraldic" position of the lions 
at Mykenae can be traced back through Asia Minor 
to the designs of the Babylonian gem-cutters. The 
winged horse, Pegasus, is found on Hittite seals, 
and, like the double-headed eagle of Eyuk and other 
composite figures, is derived from Babylonian proto- 
types. 2 They represented the first attempts of the 
creative power, as conceived of by Babylonian 
cosmology, and an old Babylonian legend of the 
creation accordingly describes the monsters suckled 
by Tiamat as "warriors with the bodies of birds, men 
with the faces of ravens." 3 The fantastic monsters 
of " Minoan " art, which have been brought to light 
by the excavations in Krete, claim an intimate con- 
nection with the similar composite beings which are 
a characteristic of Hittite art. 4 

The early Hittite art of Asia Minor, as I pointed 
out many years ago, is dependent on that of Babylonia, 

1 Ih'os, p. 693. What seem to be similar characters on a 
seal-cylinder found in the copper-age cemetry of Agia Paraskevi 
in Cyprus have recently been published by me in the Proceedings 
of the Society of Biblical Arc/iceology, June 1906, plate ii. No. xi. 
See above, p. 141. 

2 One of these seals, with the name of Tua-is, "the Char- 
ioteer,'' in Hittite hieroglyphs, is in the possession of M. 
de Clercq. Another is figured by Layard, Culte de Mithra, 
xliv. 3. 

3 See Sayce, Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, pp. 


4 See Hogarth, "The Zakro Sealings," in the Journal of 
Hellenic Studies, xxii. pp. 76-93, and plates vi.-x. 


and has little in common with the art of Assyria. 1 
It is not until we come to the later Hittite monuments 
of Cilicia and Syria that the influence of Assyrian art 
makes itself visible. Hence was derived the partiality 
of the Hittite artist for the composite animals that 
adorn the seal-cylinders of Babylonia, and which 
consequently became known wherever the seal- 
cylinder and the literary culture it accompanied had 
made their way. As I have already stated, though 
Subari was an Assyrian province and Kara Eyuk an 
Assyrian colony, the form of the cuneiform script 
that was used in Cappadocia was of Babylonian origin. 

The writing material of " Minoan " Krete, we now 
know, consisted of clay tablets. The fact is a proof 
that the influence of Babylonian culture had extended 
thus far. But it was an indirect influence only. 
Though the clay tablet was employed, the characters 
impressed upon it were the native Kretan. This in 
itself, however, demonstrates how strong the influence 
must have been, for the Kretan characters, whether 
hieroglyphic or linear, were less easy to inscribe on 
clay than the cuneiform. Krete, moreover, is a land 
of rock and stone rather than of clay. We may 
infer, therefore, from the use of the Babylonian 
material that the first impulse to write was inspired 
by the civilization of Babylonia. 

How it was brought to Krete we do not know. It 
may have passed over from the shores of Canaan ; it 
may have come from Cyprus or Asia Minor. A seal- 
cylinder, which I have lately published, and which 
was found in the early copper-age cemetery of Agia 

1 Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, 1881, 
vii. 2, p. 27. 


Paraskevi in Cyprus, shows that the so-called Cypriote 
syllabary was already in use in the island at a remote 
date, 1 and this syllabary is closely connected with the 
linear characters of Krete. Inscriptions in the same 
form of script have been found on the site of Troy, 
and the pre-Israelitish pottery of Southern Palestine 
is marked with signs which seem to be derived from 
it. So, too, is certain Egyptian pottery of the age of 
the Eighteenth dynasty, and even of the age of the 
Twelfth. 2 

It is possible that Krete was the birthplace of the 
picture writing which developed into the linear script 
of Knossos and the Cypriote syllabary ; it is possible 
that it was rather Cyprus. I do not think, as I once 
did, that it comes from Asia Minor, for Asia Minor 
had its own pictographic system, which we see repre- 
sented in the Hittite inscriptions, and an increased 
knowledge of this system tends to dissociate it from 
the pictographs and syllabaries of Krete and Cyprus. 

Wherever it arose, however, it was associated with 
the Babylonian writing material and the Babylonian 
seal-cylinder. So far as our present knowledge goes, 
Cyprus is more likely than any other part of the 
world to have been the meeting-point of Babylonian 
culture and the nascent civilization of the West. 
The numerous seal-cylinders which characterize 
the early copper age of the island are native 
imitations of Babylonian seal-cylinders of the epoch 
of Sargon of Akkad, when the boundaries of the 

1 See above, p. 141. 

2 Professor Petrie finds similar marks on Egyptian pottery of 
the prehistoric and early dynastic age ; see his table of" signs in 
The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty (Egypt Exploration 
Fund), i. p. 32. 


Babylonian Empire were pushed to the coasts of the 
Mediterranean, if not into Cyprus itself, and the great 
eastern plain of Cyprus was better fitted to provide 
clay for the tablet than any other Mediterranean 
district with which I am acquainted. 

That no written tablets have been found by the 
excavators in Cyprus is not surprising. In an island 
climate where heavy rains occur the unbaked tablet 
soon becomes hardly distinguishable from the earth 
in which it is embedded. It was almost by accident 
that even the practised eye of Dr. A. J. Evans was 
first led to notice the clay tablets of Knossos. 

The Greek term, which was borrowed from 
the language of Canaan, is evidence that the tablet 
was once known to the Greeks. For the letters of 
the Phoenician and Greek alphabet rolls of papyrus 
or leather were needed ; the fact that the writing 
material was a tablet and not a roll refers us back to 
Babylonia. With the introduction of the Phoenician 
letters the word SeAros necessarily changed its mean- 
ing, and became synonymous with a wooden board. 
But it is possible that a reminiscence of its original 
signification is preserved in a famous passage of the 
Iliad (vi. 169), where the later " board " has been sub- 
stituted for the earlier " tablet." Here we are told 
how Bellerophon carried with him to Lycia " baleful 
signs" — which may have been the pictographs of 
Krete or the Hittites, or even cuneiform characters — 
written upon " a folded board." The expression 
would have most naturally originated in the folded 
clay tablet of early Babylonia, the inner tablet being 
enclosed in an envelope on which the address or a 
description of the contents of the document is written. 


On the literary side, however, this is the utmost 
contribution that we can claim for Babylonia to have 
made to historical Greece. In the sphere of religion 
it is possible that the anthropomorphism of Greece 
was influenced by the anthropomorphism of Babylonia 
through Asia Minor, where the rock sculptures of 
Boghaz Keui show how the primitive Hittite fetishes 
had become human deities like those of Chaldaea ; in 
the sphere of philosophy Thales and Anaximander 
clothed in a Greek dress the cosmological theories of 
the Babylonians ; and in the domain of art the 
heraldry and composite monsters of Babylonia made 
their way to Europe, while the Ionic artists of 
Ephesus carved ivories into forms so Oriental in 
character that similar figures found in the palace of 
Sargon have been pronounced to be the work of 
Phoenicians. But the literary culture of historical 
Greece did not begin until the tide of Babylonian 
influence had already rolled back from Western Asia, 
when the Phoenician alphabet had taken the place of 
the cuneiform syllabary in Syria, and the Hittite 
populations of Asia Minor had returned to their 
clumsy hieroglyphs. 

It is, however, remarkable how very nearly the 
cuneiform script became what the Phoenician alphabet 
has been called, " the mother of the alphabets of the 
world." At one time it covered nearly the whole area 
of the civilized globe. A seal-cylinder with a cunei- 
form inscription in an unknown language has been 
discovered on the hills near Herat ; x in the west its 

1 Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, xi. pp. 316 sqq. 
The cylinder was bought by Major Pottinger, but afterwards lost. 
The inscription seems to read : AN Nin(?)-zi-in Su-luM(?)- 


use extended as far as Cappadocia, perhaps further. 
Northward it made its home in Armenia ; southward 
it obliged even the Egyptian Foreign Office to employ 
it for correspondence, while military scribes wrote in 
it their memoranda of the Pharaoh's campaigns. In 
both Mitanni and Van the syllabary was on the high- 
road to becoming an alphabet ; in Persia it actually 
became one. 

But this final evolution came too late. A simpler 
script had already entered the field, and won its way 
in lands where clay was scarce and other writing 
materials more easily procurable. Indeed, it is 
probable that the presence or absence of clay suitable 
for writing purposes had quite as much to do with 
the spread of the cuneiform script as the political 
events which transformed the map of Western Asia. 
Canaan still continued to write in cuneiform char- 
acters after the empire of Babylonia had been 
exchanged for that of Egypt, while the use of the 
script never penetrated far into the limestone regions 
of the Mediterranean. It was probably the geological 
formation of Europe more than anything else which 
saved us to-day from having to learn the latest 
modification of the cursive writing of the Babylonian 

But it had been a potent instrument of civilization 
in its day, perhaps more potent even than the Phoe- 
nician alphabet, for its sway lasted for thousands of 
years. It was at once the symbol and the inspiring 
spirit of a culture whose roots go back to the very 

me-am-el Khi-ti-sa ARAD-na — " To the god Nin(?)-zin, Sulukh- 
ammel (?) son of Khiti, his servant." 


beginnings of human civilization, and to which we still 
owe part of our own heritage of civilized life. Baby- 
lonia was the mother-land of astronomy and irriga- 
tion ; from thence a knowledge of copper seems to 
have spread through Western Asia ; it was there that 
the laws and regulations of trade were first formulated, 
and the earliest legal code, so far as we know, was 
compiled. Babylonian theology and cosmology left 
their impress upon beliefs and views of the world 
which have passed through Judaea to Europe, and the 
astrology and magic which played so active a part in 
the mental history of the Middle Ages were Babylonian 
creations. It is not a little remarkable that an 
Etruscan model of the liver in bronze (discovered at 
Piacenza), divided and inscribed for the purposes of 
haruspicy, finds its counterpart and probably also its 
prototype in the clay copy of a liver, similarly divided 
and inscribed, which was found in Babylonia. 1 We 
are children of our fathers, and amongst our spiritual 
fathers must be reckoned the Babylonians. 

1 The Etruscan monument is described by Deecke, Das 
Temp htm von Piacetiza (Etrusktsche Forschwigen, iv. 1880) 
and Etruskische Forschungen imd Studien, part ii. (1882). For 
the Babylonian prototype, see Boissier, Note sur un Monu- 
ment babylonien se rapportant & Fextispicine (1899). 



It is now nearly twenty years ago since the archaeo- 
logical world was startled, not to say revolutionized, 
by the discovery of the cuneiform tablets of Tel el- 
Amarna in Upper Egypt. Nor was it the archaeological 
world only which the discovery affected. The historian 
and the theologian have equally had to modify and 
forsake their old ideas and assumptions, and the 
criticism of the Old Testament writings has entered 
upon a new and altogether unexpected stage. The 
archaeologist, the historian and the Biblical critic alike 
can never again return to the point of view which was 
dominant before 1887, or regard the ancient world of 
the East with the unbelieving eyes of a Grote or a 
Cornewall Lewis. A single archaeological discovery 
has upset mountains of learned discussion, of ingenious 
theory and sceptical demonstration. 

At the risk of repeating a well-worn tale, I will 
describe briefly the nature of the discovery. In the 
ruins of a city and palace which, like the palace 
of Aladdin, rose out of the desert sands into gorgeous 
magnificence for a short thirty years and then perished 
utterly, some 300 clay tablets were found, inscribed, 
not with the hieroglyphics of Egypt, but with the 
cuneiform characters of Babylonia. They were, in 



fact, the contents of the Foreign Office of Amon-hotep 
IV., the " Heretic King " of Egyptian history, who 
endeavoured to reform the old religion of Egypt and 
to substitute for it a pantheistic monotheism. This 
was about 1400 years before the birth of Christ, and 
a full century before the Israelitish Exodus. The 
attempt failed in spite of the fanatical efforts of its 
royal patron to force it upon his people, and of his 
introduction of religious persecution for the first time 
into the world. The Eighteenth dynasty, to which he 
belonged, and which had conquered Western Asia, 
went down in civil and religious war ; the Asiatic 
Empire of Egypt was lost, and a new dynasty sat on 
the throne of Thebes. 

The archives in the Foreign Office included not only 
the foreign correspondence of Amon-hotep's own 
reign, but the foreign correspondence also of his 
father, which he had carried with him from Thebes 
when he founded his new capital at Tel el-Amarna. 
And the scope and character of it are astounding. 
There are letters from the kings of Babylonia and 
Assyria, of Mesopotamia and the Hittites, of Cilicia 
and Cappadocia, besides letters and communications 
of all sorts from the Egyptian governors and vassal 
princes in Canaan and Syria. Most of the correspond- 
ence is in the language of Babylonia ; it is only in a 
few rare instances that the cuneiform characters em- 
body the actual language of the people from whom 
the letters were sent. It is difficult to imagine any- 
thing more subversive of the ideas about the ancient 
history of the East, which were current twenty years 
ago, than the conclusions to be drawn from this 
correspondence. It proved that, so far as literary cul- 


ture is concerned, the civilized Oriental world in the 
Mosaic age was quite as civilized as our own. There 
were schools and libraries all over it, in which a foreign 
language and a complicated foreign system of writing 
formed an essential part of education. It proved that 
this education was widely spread : there are letters 
from Bedawin shekhs as well as from a lady who 
was much interested in politics. It showed that this 
correspondence was active and regular, that those who 
took part in it wrote to each other on the trivial 
topics of the day, and that the high-roads and postal 
service were alike well organized. We learned that 
the nations of the Orient were no isolated units cut 
off from one another except when one of them made 
war with the other, but that, on the contrary, their 
mutual relations were as close and intimate as those 
of modern Europe. The Babylonian king in his 
distant capital on the Euphrates sent to condole with 
the Egyptian Pharaoh on his father's death like a 
modern potentate, and was every whit as anxious to 
protect and encourage the trade of his country as Mr. 
Chamberlain. Indeed, the privileges of the merchant 
and the sacredness of his person had long been a 
matter of international law. 

In one respect the advocates of international har- 
mony and arbitration were better off in the Mosaic 
age than they are in the Europe of to-day. There 
was no difficulty about diversities of language and the 
danger of being misunderstood. The language of 
diplomacy, of education and trade was everywhere 
the same, and was understood, read and written by 
all educated persons. Even the Egyptian lord of 
Western Asia had to swallow his pride and^ write in 


the language and script of Babylonia when he corre- 
sponded with his own subjects in Canaan. Indeed, 
like English officials in Egypt, who are supposed to 
write to one another on official business in French, his 
own Egyptian envoys and commissioners sent their 
official communications in the foreign tongue. The 
Oriental world in the century before the Exodus thus 
anticipated the Roman Empire. 

Canaan was the centre and focus of the correspond- 
ence. It was the battle-ground and meeting-place of 
the great powers of the Eastern world. It had long 
been a province of Babylonia, and, like the rest of the 
Babylonian Empire, subject to Babylonian law and 
permeated by Babylonian literary culture. It was 
during these centuries of Babylonian government that 
it had come to adopt as its own the script and language 
of its rulers ; the deities of Babylonia were worshipped 
on the high places of Palestine, and Babylonian 
legends and traditions were taught in its schools. 

Out of Canaan had marched the Hyksos who 
conquered Egypt. The names of their kings found 
on the monuments that have survived to us are 
distinctively Canaanite of the patriarchal period ; 
among them is Jacob-el, or Jacob, whom the Alexan- 
drine Jews seem to have identified with their own 
ancestor. While the Hyksos Pharaohs reigned, Egypt 
was but a dependency of Canaan ; the source of 
Hyksos power lay in Canaan, and their Egyptian 
capital was accordingly placed close to the Canaanitish 

When, after five generations of warfare, the native 
princes of Thebes succeeded at last in expelling the 
Hyksos conquerors from the valley of the Nile and in 


founding the Eighteenth dynasty, they perceived that 
their best hope of preventing a second Asiatic 
conquest lay in possessing themselves of the land 
which was, as it were, the key to their own. The 
Hyksos conquest, in fact, had shown that Canaan was 
at once a link between Asia and Africa, and the open 
gate which let the invader into the fertile fields of 
Egypt. The war, therefore, that had ended by driving 
the Asiatic out of Egypt was now carried into his own 
home. Campaign after campaign finally crushed 
Canaanitish resistance, and the Egyptian standards 
were planted on the banks of the Euphrates. Pales- 
tine and Syria were transformed into Egyptian 
provinces ; in the language of the tenth chapter of 
Genesis, they became the brothers of Mizraim. 

The Tel el-Amarna letters tell us how the new 
provinces were organized. The most important cities 
were placed under Egyptian governors, many of 
whom, however, were natives. But they were care- 
fully watched by Egyptian commissioners, to whom 
the control of the military forces was entrusted, as 
well as by special high-commissioners sent from time 
to time by the imperial Government. Local jealousies 
and rivalries, moreover, among the governors pre- 
vented union among them against the central power, 
and up to a certain point were not discouraged by the 
Egyptian Foreign Office. The Tel el-Amarna letters 
offer us a curious picture of the extent to which their 
mutual animosities were carried in the days when 
the Egyptian Empire was growing feeble. All the 
governors protest their devotion to the court, and all 
like are accused by their rivals of intriguing and 
even fighting against it. 


Besides the states which were thus directly under 
Egyptian rule, there were also protected states. Here 
the representative of the old line of kings was allowed 
to retain a titular authority, though in reality his 
power was not greater than that of the governors in 
other states. But, whether governor or protected 
prince his duty to the imperial Government was clearly 
marked out for him. He had to levy the taxes and 
send a fixed amount of tribute to the Egyptian 
Treasury, to provide a certain number of militia, and 
to send official reports to the king. He had further to 
see that the troops of the army of occupation were 
duly provided with pay and maintenance. 

The army of occupation in the reign of Amon- 
hotep IV. does not seem to have been large. The 
imperial forces were needed at home to enforce the new 
faith upon the Egyptian people, and to put down the 
discontent that was growing there. We hear, how- 
ever, of " the household troops," who belonged to the 
standing army of Egypt and formed the nucleus of 
the permanent garrison. How many of them were 
native Egyptians it is impossible to say ; as we hear 
of Kushites or Ethiopians among them, it is probable 
that the Sudanese were at least as largely employed 
on foreign service as the Egyptians themselves. The 
Egyptian has never been fond of military service, 
whereas, we all now know, the Sudanese is essentially 
a fighting animal. 

Both sides of the Jordan were included in the 
Egyptian administration. One of the Tel el-Amarna 
letters, for example, is from a governor of " the field 
of Bashan." It is characteristic of the whole series, 
and shows what the relations were between the army 


of occupation and the native levies. I cannot do 
better than quote it in full : " To the king, my lord, 
thus says Artamanya, the governor of the Field of 
Bashan, thy servant : at the feet of the king, my lord, 
seven times seven do I fall. Behold, thou hast written 
to me to join the household troops, and how could 
I be a dog (of the king) and not go ? Behold, I 
and my soldiers and my chariots will join the house- 
hold troops in whatever place the king my lord 

The name of Artamanya is not Semitic; neither 
is it Egyptian. The fact brings us to one of the most 
interesting and unexpected results of the decipher- 
ment of the Tel el-Amarna correspondence. And 
this is that the ruling caste in the Palestine of the 
Mosaic age was largely of Hittite origin, or had come 
from those countries of the north whose population 
was related in blood and language to the Hittites of 
Asia Minor. 

In Northern Mesopotamia was a kingdom which 
ranked with those of Egypt and Babylonia as regarded 
power and influence. Its native name was Mitanni; 
the Hebrews, like the Egyptians, called it the kingdom 
of Aram Naharaim. It stretched from Assyria to the 
Orontes, and contended with the Hittites of Carche- 
mish for the possession of the fords of the Euphrates. 
Its rulers had descended upon it from the highlands of 
Armenia and the Caucasus, and had reduced the native 
Aramaean population to servitude. There are frequent 
references in the Tel el-Amarna tablets to Mitannian 
intrigues in Canaan. Mitannian armies had from time 
to time marched against the Canaanitish cities, and 
although there was now a nominal alliance between 



Mitanni and Egypt, and the royal families of the two 
countries were united by marriage, the Mitannian 
court never lost an opportunity of sending secret 
support to the disaffected princes of Canaan or of 
encouraging them in their revolts from the Egyptian 
Government In many parts of the country the ruling 
family continued to be Mitannian, and accordingly we 
find more than one governor who bears a Mitannian 
name. Thus one of them, as we see, was governor of 
Bashan, and there was another who had his seat near 
the Sea of Galilee. 

Mitannian influence, however, was chiefly confined 
to the northern part of Palestine. It was otherwise 
with the Hittites, whose marauding bands penetrated 
as far south as the frontiers of Egypt. The important 
part they played in the early history of Canaan and 
the substantial element they must have contributed to 
the future population of the country has but lately 
been disclosed to us by the advance that has been 
made in the interpretation of the Tel el-Amarna texts. 
We have at last obtained an explanation of the fact 
that whereas in the older Babylonian period Canaan 
was known as " the land of the Amorites," it was called 
by the Assyrians " the land of the Hittites." The 
Assyrian kings even speak of Judah and Moab as 
" Hittite," and the town of Ashdod is described by 
Sargon as a "Hittite" state. What this must mean 
has indeed long been recognized by the Assyriologists. 
When the Assyrians first became acquainted with 
Palestine the Hittites must have been there the 
dominant power. But how and when this came about 
we have but just begun to learn, and it is the story of 
the Hittite occupation of Canaan, as a better know- 


ledge of the Tel el-Amarna tablets is making possible, 
that I now propose to describe. 

The Hittite race was of Cappadocian origin. Pro- 
fessor Ramsay has pointed out that the hieroglyphic 
characters which they used in their inscriptions must 
have been invented on the treeless plateau of Central 
Asia Minor, and that their capital, whose ruins now 
strew the ground at Boghaz Keui, north of the Halys, 
was the centre towards which all the early high-roads 
of Asia Minor converge. But they extended on both 
sides of the Taurus Mountains, and at an early date 
had planted themselves in Northern Syria. I have 
lately succeeded in deciphering their inscriptions, 
which have so long baffled our attempts to read them, 
and one result of my decipherment is the discovery of 
an unexpected fact. I find that the name of Hittite 
was confined to that portion of the race which lived 
eastward and southward of the Taurus. In Asia 
Minor itself, their first cradle and home, they called 
themselves Kas or Kasians ; it was the kingdom of 
Kas over which the Hittite lords of Boghaz Keui 
claimed to rule, and it is still as kings of Kas that 
they are entitled on the monuments of Carchemish, 
though here they also acknowledge the name of 

The name of Kas is met with in the Tel el-Amarna 
tablets, where it has hitherto been misunderstood. 
The kings of the Hittites, of Mitanni and of Kas are 
associated together as supporting the enemies of the 
Egyptian Pharaoh or attacking his cities in Syria. 
Hitherto we have supposed that Kas signified 
Babylonia, though the supposition had but little in its 
favour, and a different name is given to Babylonia in 


passages where there is no doubt as to what country 
is meant. Now, however, all becomes clear : in the 
age of the tablets there were still four Hittite king- 
doms in the north : Kas in Asia Minor, the Hittites 
proper, east and south of the Taurus, Mitanni in 
Mesopotamia, and Naharaim on the Orontes. Shortly 
afterwards they were all swallowed up in the empire 
of the "great king" of the Hittites, whose southern 
capital was at Kadesh. Some Kasians had found 
their way to Jerusalem, where the king Ebed-Kheba 
— whose name is compounded with that of a Mitannian 
deity — writes to the Egyptian Government to excuse 
his conduct in regard to them. They had been 
accused of plundering the Pharaoh's territory and 
murdering his servants ; he assures the court that 
nothing of the sort is true. They are still in his 
house, where it would seem they formed his body- 
guard. But, on the other hand, there were other 
Hittites in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem who were 
really enemies to the king and threatened Jerusalem 
itself. These he calls Khabiri, or " Confederates," a 
name in which, despite history and probability, certain 
writers have insisted upon seeing the Hebrews of the 
Old Testament. But Dr. Knudtzon's fresh collation 
of the Tel el-Amarna texts has at last dispelled the 
mystery. The Khabiri turn out to have been bands 
of Hittite condottieri, who sold their military 
services to the highest bidder and carved out princi- 
palities for themselves in the south of Canaan. The 
Egyptian Government found them useful in escorting 
and protecting the trading caravans to Asia Minor 
and the Taurus region, and as long as their leaders 
professed themselves the devoted servants of the 


Pharaoh it was quite willing to overlook such little 
accidents as their capture and sack of a Canaanitish 
town or the murder of a Canaanitish prince. 

One of these Hittite leaders, Aita-gama by name, 
had possessed himself of the city of Kadesh on the 
Orontes, which in the following century was to become 
the capital of a Hittite empire. In a letter to the 
Egyptian court he has the audacity to assert that he 
was merely claiming his patrimony, the whole district 
having belonged to his father. If there is any truth 
in this it can only mean that his father had already 
led a troop of Hittite raiders into this portion of the 
Egyptian territory. 

Along with Aita-gama two other Hittite chieftains 
had marched, Teuwatti, whose name appears in the 
native texts under the form of Tuates, and Arzawaya. 
Arzawaya means "a man of Arzawa," the country 
whose language has been revealed to us in one of the 
Tel el-Amarna letters, and which proves to be the 
same as the Hittite dialect found in the cuneiform 
tablets of Boghaz Keui. We are told that he came 
from a city which was in the neighbourhood of the 
Karmalas, in Southern Cappadocia. Arzawaya helped 
Teuwatti to conquer Damascus and then led his 
followers further south. Here he acted as a free-lance, 
hiring himself and his mercenaries to the rival 
Canaanitish princes and professing himself to be all 
the while a faithful servant of the Egyptian king. It 
is amusing to read one of his letters to the Egyptian 
court : " To my lord the king thus writes Arzawaya, 
of Rukhiza. At the feet of my lord I prostrate 
myself. My lord the king wrote that I should join 
the household troops of the king my lord and his 


numerous officers." Here follow four words of Hittite 
which are accompanied by the translation : " I am 
a servant of the king my lord." Then the letter pro- 
ceeds : " I will join the household troops of the king 
my lord and his officers ; and I will send everything 
after them and march wherever there is rebellion 
against the king my lord. And we will deliver his 
enemies into the hand of the king our lord." Doubt- 
less Arzawaya expected to be well paid for his help. 

There is another letter from Arzawaya to the 
Pharaoh in which he calls himself " the dust of his 
feet and the ground on which he treads." But in this 
letter he has to explain away the share he took in 
entering the town of Gezer along with Labbawa, 1 
another Hittite leader, and there infringing the royal 
prerogative by summoning a levy of the militia. In 
the eyes of the home Government this was a much 
more serious matter than merely plundering or killing 
a few of its Canaanitish subjects, as it was equivalent 
to usurping the functions of the imperial power. 

Labbawa also had to write and ask for forgiveness, 
and assure the Pharaoh that he is his " devoted slave," 
who does " not withhold his tribute " or disobey the 
"requests" of the Egyptian commissioners. In fact, 
he concludes his letter with declaring that "if the 
king should write to me : Run a sword of bronze into 
your heart and die, I would not fail to execute the 
king's command." All the same, however, he had 
established himself securely on Mount Shechem, from 
whence, like Joshua in after days, he was able to 
make raids on the surrounding Canaanitish towns. 

1 Labbawa, or Labawa, is written Labbaya in the letter which 
is in the Arzawan language. 


In the north we hear of him at Shunem and Gath- 
Rimmon, where he first appeared upon the scene in 
the train of the Egyptian army at a time when Amon- 
hotep III. was suppressing an insurrection in that 
part of Palestine. It is probable that he had just 
arrived with his band of condottieri, attracted by the 
pay and the chance of plunder that the Egyptian 
Pharaoh offered the free-lance. By a curious fatality 
it was also in this same locality that he afterwards 
met his death at the hands of the people of Gina — the 
Cana of Galilee, probably, of St. John's Gospel. 

Labbawa cast envious eyes on the important city 
of Megiddo, and its governor — who, by the way, is 
mentioned in one of the cuneiform tablets found three 
years ago by the Austrian excavators on the site of 
Taanach — sent piteous appeals for assistance against 
him to the Egyptian Government. The beleaguered 
governor declared that so closely invested was he by 
the Hittite free-lances that he could not venture 
outside the gates of his town. The peasantry were 
afraid even to bring vegetables into it, and unless help 
were forthcoming from Egypt, Megiddo was doomed. 
After all, however, Labbawa was not only unable to 
possess himself of the Canaanitish stronghold, but was 
taken prisoner and confined in the very place he had 
hoped to capture. But fortune befriended him. He 
managed to bribe the governor of Acre, and the latter, 
on the pretext that he was going to send Labbawa by 
sea to Egypt, took him out of prison and set him free. 

Labbawa now turned his attention to the south of 
Palestine — the future territory of Judah. Here he 
entered into alliance with the king of Jerusalem, or, 
to speak more precisely, was taken into his pay, and 


the two together waged war on the neighbouring 
states. One of the Egyptian governors complains 
that they had robbed him of Keilah, and he had to 
wait for Labbawa's death before he could recover his 

One of the two letters in the Tel el-Amarna 
collection which are in the Arzawan or Hittite 
language was written by Labbawa, as we have lately 
learned from Dr. Knudtzon's revised copy of it. In 
this he calls himself a native of the Hittite district of 
Uan, near Aleppo, and refers to "the Hittite king," 
though our knowledge of the language is too imperfect 
to allow us to understand the meaning of the reference. 
The letter is addressed simply "to my lord," and we 
do not know, therefore, whether it was intended for 
Hittite or Egyptian eyes. After his settlement in 
Palestine, however, Labbawa adopted the official 
language of the country ; his letters to the Pharaoh 
are in Babylonian, and his son bore the character- 
istically Semitic name of Mut-Baal. The fact is an 
interesting example of the rapid way in which the 
Hittite settlers in Palestine were Semitized. They 
brought no women with them, and their wives 
accordingly were natives of Canaan. 

Labbawa left two sons behind him, who, in spite of 
their Semitic education, followed in their father's foot- 
steps and continued to lead his company of Hittite 
mercenaries. Mut-Baal, moreover, made himself 
useful to the Government by escorting the trading 
caravans to Cappadocia, a fact which proves that he 
still maintained relations with the country of his origin. 
The alliance between Ebed-Kheba of Jerusalem and 
his father, however, had come to an end ; Ebed-Kheba 


now had the Hittites of Kas in his pay, and no longer 
needed the services of the sons of Labbawa. They 
therefore transferred themselves to his rivals, together 
with the sons of Arzawaya, who, like Labbawa, was 
now dead, and Ebed-Kheba soon found himself in 
difficulties. The result was letter after letter from 
him to the Egyptian court, begging for help against 
his enemies, and declaring that if no help came the 
king's territory would be lost. These appeals seem to 
have met with no response ; the Egyptian Govern- 
ment was by no means assured of Ebed-Kheba's 
loyalty, and knew that if the territory of Jerusalem 
were to pass into the hands of the Hittite chieftain it 
would make but little difference to the imperial power. 
The tribute would still be paid, the Egyptian com- 
missioner would still be respected, and the new rulers 
of the district would profess themselves the faithful 
subjects of the Pharaoh. There would merely be a 
change of governors, and nothing more. The Hittite 
mercenaries were formidable only in the petty struggles 
which took place between the rival Canaanitish 
governors ; when it came to dealing with the regular 
army of Egypt they were numerically too few to be 
of account. 

Ebed-Kheba calls the followers of Labbawa and 
Arzawaya "Khabiri." I have long ago pointed out that 
the word is found elsewhere in the Assyrian texts in 
the sense of " Confederates," and that its identification 
with the Hebrews of the Old Testament, though 
phonetically possible, is historically impossible. Now 
that we know the nationality of Labbawa and Arza- 
waya the question is finally settled, and we can explain 
a hitherto puzzling passage in one of Ebed-Kheba's 


letters, in which he says that "when ships were on 
the sea the arm of the mighty king seized Naharaim 
and Kas, but now the Khabiri have seized the cities 
of the king." Naharaim lay southward of the gulf of 
Antioch, while Kas extended to the Cilician coast, 
and they were thus, both of them, within reach of a 
maritime Power ; they were, moreover, both of them 
Hittite regions, Naharaim being the district afterwards 
called Khattina, "the Hittite land," by the Assyrians, 
while Kas was the Hittite kingdom of Cappadocia. 
Ebed-Kheba, therefore, is drawing a comparison 
between the power of " the mighty king " in the days 
when an Egyptian fleet controlled the sea and the 
present time when Hittite marauders are seizing 
without let or hindrance the king's cities on the very 
borders of Egypt. Even Lachish and Ashkelon had 
joined the enemy. 

Perhaps the most important of the King of Jeru- 
salem's letters is one which has hitherto been mis- 
understood, partly owing to its being broken in half 
and the relation of the two halves to one another not 
being recognized, partly to the imperfections of the 
published copy. Now that a complete and accurate 
text of it lies before us, its meaning has ceased to be 
a riddle, and I will therefore give here the first 
translation that has been made of the completed 

"To the king my lord thus says Ebed-Kheba thy 
servant: at the feet of my lord the king seven times 
seven I prostrate myself. Behold, Malchiel has not 
separated himself from the sons of Labbawa and the 
sons of Arzawaya so as to claim the king's land for 
them. A governor who commits such an act, why 


has not the king questioned him (about it) ? Behold, 
Malchiel and Tagi have committed such an act by 
seizing the city of Rabbah. And now as to Jerusalem, 
if this land belongs to the king, why is it that Gaza has 
been appointed for the (residence of the) king ('s 
commissioner)? Behold the land of Gath-Carmel is 
in the power of Tagi, and the men of Gath are (his) 
bodyguard. He is (now) in Beth-Sannah. But (never- 
theless) we will act. Malchiel wrote to Tagi that 
they should give Labbawa and Mount Shechem to 
the district of the Khabiri, and he took some boys as 
slaves. They granted all their demands to the people 
of Keilah. But we will rescue Jerusalem. The garri- 
son which you sent by Khaya the son of Meri-Ra 
has been taken by Hadad-mikhir and stationed in his 
house at Gaza. [I have sent messengers] to Egypt, 
[and may] the king [listen to me], . . . There is no 
garrison of the king [here]. Verily by the life of the 
king Pa-ur has gone down to Egypt ; he has left me 
and is in Gaza. But let the king entrust to him a 
garrison for the defence of the land. All the land of 
the king has revolted. Send Yenkhamu and let him 
take charge of the king's land. 

" (Postscript) : To the secretary of the king says 
Ebed-Kheba your servant : [bring] what I say 
clearly before the king. Kindest regards to you ! 
I am your servant." 

The references in this letter are explained in other 
letters from the same correspondent. Malchiel was 
the native governor of the Hebron district, and had 
married the daughter of Tagi, whose name does not 
sound Semitic. The Hittite mercenaries of Labbawa 
from Shechem and of Arzawaya, who does not seem 


to have established himself in any special district of 
the country, were now in the pay of Malchiel, while 
Ebed-Kheba, as we have seen, had secured the 
services of another body of Hittites from Kas. He 
had been accused at the Egyptian court of seeking by 
their means to make himself independent, and more 
than one of his letters is occupied with defending 
himself and bringing a counter-charge against Mal- 
chiel. Malchiel, however, secured the support of the 
royal commissioner, Yenkhamu, who agreed to his 
employment of the Hittite condottieri. With their 
assistance Keilah had been recovered from the hands 
of Ebed-Kheba, who, at an earlier date, had got Lab- 
bawa to seize it for him, but after Labbawa's death 
the tables were turned, and his sons had offered their 
services to the rival party, doubtless for the sake of 
better pay. It was now that Malchiel summoned the 
militia of Gezer, Gath-Carmel and Keilah, and made 
himself master of Rabbah, a small place north-west of 
Keilah and Hebron, which Ebed-Kheba asserted 
belonged to his territory. The tide was beginning to 
turn against the King of Jerusalem : his enemies were 
in greater favour at court than he was himself, and 
they had the support of the Hittite bands. It was in 
vain that he appealed to the Egyptian Government 
for aid and declared that not only had his rivals 
given Mount Shechem to the Hittite free-lances, but 
that by their action against himself they were de- 
livering the whole of Southern Palestine into Hittite 
hands. " The king," he writes, " no longer has any 
territory, the Khabiri have wasted all the lands of the 
king. If the royal troops come this year, the 
country will remain my lord the king's, but if no 


troops come, the territory of the king my lord is 

At this point the story breaks off abruptly. The 
Tel el-Amarna correspondence comes to an end and 
the fate of Jerusalem and the surrounding districts is 
unknown to us. Soon afterwards religious troubles at 
home forced the Egyptian Government to withdraw 
its troops from Canaan altogether, and for awhile the 
Egyptian empire in Asia ceased to exist. It was 
restored, however, by Seti I. and his son, Ramses II., 
at the beginning of the Nineteenth dynasty, and 
among the cities whose conquest is celebrated by 
Ramses on the walls of the Ramesseum at Thebes is 
Shalem or Jerusalem. But this second Egyptian 
empire in Asia did not last long, and when the 
Israelitish Exodus took place it was already passing 
away. When some years later the Israelitish invaders 
planted themselves in Labbawa's old stronghold on 
Mount Shechem, the Egyptian occupation of Canaan 
belonged to the history of the past. 

Like the Saxons in England, however, the Hittite 
chieftains must have founded principalities for them- 
selves in the south of Canaan, as we know from the 
evidence of the Tel el-Amarna tablets and the Egyp- 
tian monuments that they did in the north. Ezekiel, 
in fact, tells us that the mother of Jerusalem was a 
Hittite, and the Jebusites, from whom Jerusalem took 
its name in the age of the Israelitish conquest, were 
probably the descendants of the followers of the 
Hittite Arzawaya. They had, moreover, found a 
Hittite population already settled in the country, 
descendants of older bands who had made their way 
from the highlands of Asia Minor to the frontiers 


of Egypt in days when as yet Abraham was unborn. 
At the very commencement of the Egyptian twelfth 
dynasty we hear of the Pharaohs destroying "the 
palaces of the Hittites" in Southern Palestine, 1 and 
archaeology has recently shown that the painted 
pottery discovered in the earlier strata of Lachish and 
Gezer by English excavators had its original home in 
Northern Cappadocia and is an enduring evidence of 
Hittite culture and trade. 

The Hittites had been preceded in their occupation 
of Canaan by the Amorites, as we have learnt from 
the Babylonian inscriptions. But in the Tel el- 
Amarna age the specifically Amoritish territory was 
in the north, eastward of Tyre and Gebal. Here 
Ebed-Asherah and his son Aziru had their seat 
and from hence they led their forces northwards 
towards Aleppo to resist " the king of the Hittites " 
on behalf of the Egyptian Government, or attacked 
the Phoenician cities on their own account. In the 
north, in fact, they played much the same part as 
the Hittite mercenaries did in the south, with the 
additional advantage of being able to secure secret 
assistance when it was needed from Mitanni. Between 
Amorites and Hittites the Canaanites must have had 
a somewhat unhappy time, like the Britons after the 
departure of the Roman legions, who found themselves 

1 A copy of the text (Louvre, C i) is given by Professor 
Breasted in the American Journal of Semitic Languages and 
Literature, xxi. 3 (1905). The determinative attached to the 
name is not that of " country" but of "going," showing that the 
scribe supposed the name to be connected with some otherwise 
unknown word that signified " to go," just as in Gen. xxiii. 
"The sons of Heth" are supposed by the Hebrew writer to 
derive their name from the Hebrew khath t "terror." 


the alternate prey of Saxons and Scots. But we can 
now understand and appreciate the ethnological notice 
in the Book of Numbers (xiii. 29), which tells us that 
" the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites 
dwell in the mountains, and the Canaanites dwell by 
the sea and by the coast of Jordan." 

The Amorite princes, however, were more formid- 
able to the Egyptian Government than the Hittite 
chieftains, or else must have played their cards a 
little too openly, for we find Aziru receiving a scold- 
ing such as the Egyptian court seldom had the 
courage or energy to give. The letter from the 
Egyptian Foreign Office, which is a long one, is 
worth translating in full — 

" To the governor of the land of the Amorites 
[thus] says the king your lord. The governor of 
Gebal, thy brother, whom his brother has driven from 
the gate (of the city) has said : ' Take me and 
bring me back into my city, [and] I will then give 
you money, [for] I have nothing [of value] with me 
now.' So he spoke to you. 

" Behold, you write to the king your lord saying : 
I am your servant like all the loyal governors who are 
each in his city. Yet you have acted wrongly in 
taking a governor whom his brother had driven from 
the gate of his city, and being in Sidon you handed 
him over to the governors (there) at your own discre- 
tion, as if you did not know that they were rebellious. 

"If you are really a servant of the king why have 
you not seen that he should go up to the presence of 
the king your lord instead of thinking, ' This governor 
wrote to me saying, " Take me to thyself and restore 
me to my city " ' ? 


" But if you have acted loyally and nothing that I 
write is correct, the king has devised a lie in saying 
that nothing which you declare is true. 

" But it happens that one has heard that you have 
made a treaty with the (Hittite) prince of Kadesh to 
deliver food and drink to one another, and it is true. 
Why have you acted thus? Why have you made 
a treaty with a governor with whom another governor 
is at enmity ? For if you act with loyalty to him 
and observe your and his engagements you cannot 
look after (our) interests as you have undertaken 
to do long ago. Whatever be your conduct in 
the matter you are not on the side of the king your 

" Now as for these men to whom you want to turn, 
they are seeking to get you into the fire and to burn 
(you) and all you most love. Whereas if you submit 
yourself to the king your lord, what is there which 
the king cannot do for you ? If in anything you love 
to act wickedly and if you lay up wickedness, even 
thoughts of rebellion, in your heart, then you will 
die by the axe of the king along with all your family. 
Submit therefore to the king your lord, and you shall 
live, for you know that the king has no wish to be 
angry with all the land of Canaan. 

" And since you write : ' Let the king excuse me 
this year and I will go next year to the court of the 
king my lord, my son not being with me,' the king 
your lord accordingly will excuse you this year as 
you have asked. Go yourself instead of sending your 
son, and you shall see the king in the sight of whom 
all the world lives, and do not say : let me be excused 
this year also from going to the court of the king 


your lord ; and do not send your son to the king 
your lord ; he must not go in your place. 

" And now the king your lord has heard that you 
wrote to the king saying, ' Let the king my lord 
permit Khanni the messenger of the king to come to 
me for the second time, and I will deliver the enemies 
of the king into his hand.' Now he will go to you 
as you have asked ; do you therefore deliver them (to 
him) and do not let a single one of them escape. 
Now the king your lord sends you the names of the 
king's enemies in this letter by the hand of Khanni 
the king's messenger ; so deliver them to the king 
your lord and let not a single one of them escape, 
but put fetters of bronze upon their feet. Behold, the 
men you are to send to the king your lord are Sarru 
with all his sons, Tuia, Liya with all his sons, Yisyari 
with all his sons, (and) the son-in-law of Manya with 
his sons and wives. The treasurer of Khanni is the 
official who will read the dispatch. Dasirti, Paluwa 
and Nimmakhi have gone [to collect taxes ?] into the 
country of the Amorites. 

" And know that the king, the Sun-god in heaven, 
is well ; his soldiers and chariots are many ; from the 
upper country to the lower country, from the rising 
of the sun [to] the setting of the sun all is peace." 

We hear again of one of the rebels mentioned in 
this letter in the tablet discovered at Lachish in 
Palestine by Mr. Bliss. Yisyari is there described as 
inciting the governor of Lachish to revolt and promis- 
ing assistance if he would call out the militia of his 
city against the king. That an Amorite of the north 
should thus have been able to interfere in the politics 
of a city in the south of Palestine is an interesting 



illustration of what I may call the solidarity of Syria 
and Canaan in the pre-Mosaic period. They had 
not yet been broken up into a series of isolated States ; 
like the Hittites, the Amorites still claimed to be a 
power in the future territory of Judah as well as in 
the neighbourhood of Sidon or Hamath. 

It is possible that a well-known but somewhat 
mysterious personage of the Old Testament was one 
of the Hittite leaders who succeeded in carving out 
a principality for himself: I mean Balaam the son 
of Beor. He is said to have come from the Hittite 
town of Pethor near Carchemish, and besides being a 
seer and a prophet he was also a soldier who fell in 
the ranks of the Midianites in a war against Israel. 
But Balaam the son of Beor was not only a native of 
Pethor ; we hear of him again in the Book of Genesis, 
and here he appears as the first king of Edom, his 
name heading the list of Edomite kings extracted from 
the state annals of Edom and probably brought to 
Jerusalem when David conquered the country. In 
the light of what we have learnt from the tablets of 
Tel el-Amarna it is perhaps not going too far to sup- 
pose that in Balaam we have one of those Hittite 
chieftains who, after playing the part of prophet, 
made himself leader of a band of Hittite free-lances 
and established a kingdom for himself in Edom, 
finally falling in battle by the side of his Midianite 

However this may be, the important place occupied 
by the Hittites in creating the Canaan which the 
Israelites invaded is now clear. While the larger 
bands of Hittite raiders settled in the north, where 
they prepared the way for the Hittite king himself 


with his regular army, and where Hittite power 
became so firmly established that even the great 
Ramses could not dislodge it, smaller companies of 
condottieri made their way to the extreme south of 
Palestine, hiring their services to the rival governors 
and princes and seizing a town or district for them- 
selves when the opportunity offered. So long as the 
tribute was paid, and its subjects were not too trouble- 
some, the Egyptian Government looked on with 
equanimity while the states of Canaan were practically 
ruled by the leaders of foreign mercenaries who trans- 
ferred their services from one paymaster to another 
with the most perfect impartiality. 

What is most curious is that the Imperial Govern- 
ment recognized the legal position not only of the 
Hittite or Amorite mercenaries, but even of organized 
bands of Bedawin and outlaws. As for the Bedawin, 
it had companies of them in its own pay, like the 
Egyptian Government in more recent times, and the 
governor of Gebal complains that the Egyptian com- 
missioner Pa-Hor had sent some of the latter to 
murder his garrison of Serdani or Sardinians, who 
were themselves mercenaries in the Egyptian army. 
That bodies of outlaws should have been subsidized 
by the native princes with the permission, or at least 
the connivance, of the Egyptian court may seem 
surprising. But after all it is only what we find 
happening in later times when the king of Gath 
similarly enrolled David and his band of outlaws into 
his bodyguard without any remonstrance on the part 
of the other Philistine " lords." Still it is startling to 
find one of the Pharaoh's governors coolly announcing 
that he and his soldiers and chariots, together with 


his brothers, his " cut-throats " and his Bedawin, are 
ready to join the royal troops, at the very time when 
another governor is piteously begging the great king 
to " save " him " out of the hands of the cut-throats 
and Bedawin." Here is a strange picture of Canaan- 
itish life in the days when as yet the Israelite was not 
in the land. 

The fact is, the Canaanites were an unwarlike 
people. Inland, they were agriculturists ; on the 
sea coast they were traders. And, like other trading 
communities, they were disinclined to fight, preferring 
to entrust the protection of themselves and their 
property to a paid soldiery, while at the same time 
their wealth made them a tempting prize to the 
assailant. It is true that they maintained a native 
militia, as we have learned from one of the cuneiform 
tablets discovered at Taanach, but it was upon a small 
scale, and apparently so long as the person on the roll 
could produce the one or two men for whom he was 
responsible he was not himself obliged to serve. It 
was again a case of paying others to fight instead of 

The fighting population of Canaan, in short, were 
the foreigners, and these it was who gradually made 
themselves its practical masters. The leaders of the 
mercenaries became the rulers of the Canaan ite states, 
which thus passed into the hands of a dominant 
military caste. When the Israelites entered the 
country it was with this military upper class that 
they had principally to deal ; where the Canaanite 
had not its protection he trusted for his defence to 
his iron chariots and the strong and lofty walls of his 
towns. It is instructive to read the long list of 


unconquered cities and districts given by the Hebrew 
historian in the first chapter of the Book of Judges ; 
among them are the Jebusites of Jerusalem, while we 
are told that "the Amorites forced the children of 
Dan into the mountain, for they would not suffer 
them to come down to the valley." 

Canaan, it will probably be thought, was a some- 
what insecure country in which to live in the days of 
the Egyptian Empire. There seem to have been 
constant turmoil and confusion, governor attacking 
governor and bribing bands of foreign mercenaries to 
help him. But the turmoil and confusion were mainly 
on the surface. When a town is taken from one 
governor by another we do not hear of its population 
or their possessions suffering materially ; they soon 
appear upon the scene again as prosperous as before. 
It is merely the governor and his immediate surround- 
ings who suffer ; the capture of the town was probably 
an affair amicably arranged between the condottieri 
who were attacking it and the condottieri who were 
its defenders. The Egyptian commissioners go up 
and down the country, hearing complaints and 
settling disputes, and no one ventures even to protest 
against their decisions, while a few Egyptian troops 
are stationed in places where the Government was not 
quite sure of the fidelity of its subjects. Caravans 
of merchants passed through Canaan going from 
Egypt to the north, and the traders of Babylonia and 
Asia Minor travelled along its high roads under the 
escort of Hittite and other chieftains who were 
subsidized for the purpose by the Egyptian court. 
Even in the days when the Egyptian Government was 
breaking up, the constant fighting among the foreign 


mercenaries and their employers seems to have affected 
the mass of the population little, if at all. 

What happened when the strong hand and control- 
ling power of the Egyptian Pharaoh were removed we 
do not yet know. We must look for information to 
the systematic excavations that are at last being made 
on the sites of the old Canaanitish towns. Already 
cuneiform tablets have been found on them, and 
though these belong to the Egyptian period we may 
hope that before long others may be discovered of 
later date. We have still to bridge over the age 
which elapsed between the final withdrawal of 
Egyptian domination and the conquest of the country 
by Philistines and Israelites. When that age begins 
the script and official language of Canaan are still 
Babylonian ; when it closes the cuneiform characters 
have been superseded by the letters of the Phoenician 
alphabet, and the language of the inscriptions engraved 
in them is the language no longer of Babylonia or of 
Hittite lands, but of Canaan itself. 


Abercromby, the Hon. J., 64 

Abram, 153 

Abu Shahrein. See Eridu 

Achsemenian dynasty, II ; inscrip- 
tions, 10 ; transcripts (second), 
26, 27 

Acre, 199 

Adamu, Adam, 68, 76, 78, 80, 


Aita-gama, 197 
Akkad, 69, 73, 79, 87, 95 
Akkadian, 24, 28-30, 69 
Amiaud, 29 

Amon-hotep III., 149, 199 
Amon-hotep IV., 136, 188, 192 
Amorites, 139, 141, 142, 147, 179, 
206, 207 ; land of, 139, 141, 

143, 179. 194 

Amraphel (Khammu-rabi), 143 

Animals, domesticated, 83, 99 

Anquetil-Duperron, 10 

Anupum (Anubis), 127 

Ape in Babylonia, 129 

ApesofThoth, 127 

Arabia, Southern, 123 

Archaeological versus literary evi- 
dence, 43 

Archaeology, science of, 36, etc. 

Arioch (Eri-Aku), 143 

Armenia, 31, 160, etc. 

Armenian and Sumerian, 59 

Armenians, modern, 165 

Aryan language, the, 72 

Arzawa, 34, 1 75 ; language of, 
176, 200 

Arzawan letters, vi., 175, 200 

Arzawaya, 178, 197, 198, 202, 203, 

Asari of Eridu, 119 

Asherah, 150, 153 

Ashtoreth (Istar), 153 

Asia Minor, 61, 62, 160 et seq., 

J 73> *74 > g ^ or > 62 ; bronze 

in, 66 
Askabad, excavations at, 54, 61, 

8 3 

Ass, domesticated, 83 

Assur (Qal'at Shirqat), 41 
Assur, the god, 95 
Assur-bani-pal, 73 
Assur-natsir-pal, 33, 163 
Assur-yuballidh, 172 
Assyria, the sword in, 65 
Assyrian culture, 113; grammar, 

25 ; kings, 172 ; Semitic, 19 ; 

syllabary, 19; types, 73 
Asur, 172 

Babylonia (and Egypt), 10 1, etc. ; 
Canaanite dynasty in, 142 ; 
copper age in, 55 ; no neolithic 
age in, 45, 157 ; picture-writing 

of, 57, 75 

Babylonian anthropomorphism, 94, 
125; chronology, 114; civiliza- 
tion, 75, 83 ; irrigation, 101 ; 
priesthood, 96 ; script, 17, 83 ; 
seal-cylinder, 1 1 1 ; trade, 92 

Babylonians a mixed people, 87 

Balaam, 2IO 

Barley, origin of, 108 

Bashan, 192, 193 

Behistun, 15, 16, 20, 22, 26 

Bel, 95, 97 

Belck, 33, 163, 166, 171, 174 

Bellerophon, 183 

Bes, 129 

Beth-el, 147 




Bezold, 28 

Black Obelisk, the, 20, 21, 179 

Bliss, Mr., 209 

BoghazKeui, vi., 34, 171, 174, 175, 

178, 184, 195, 197 
Borsippa, 78 
Botta, 18 

Boz Eyuk, pottery of, 171 
Brick, use of, 113 
British Museum, how it excavates, 

Bronze, 56, 59, 66 ; scimitars, 57, 

65 ; earliest use in Egypt, 60 ; 

in Krete, 60 ; in the Caucasus, 

60 ; origin of, in Britain, 64 
Bronze age in Europe, 64 
Burnouf, 13, 14 

Calah, 18. See Nimrud 

Canaan, 126, 137, 190, 213 (see 

Palestine); and Egypt, 177; 

before the Exodus, 187 et seq. ; 

Hittite pottery in, 179 ; neolithic 

age in, 146 
Canaanite civilization, 1 50 et seq. ; 

dynasty in Babylonia, 142 ; 

deities, 152 ; language, 35, 89, 

142 ; luxury, 156 ; postal service, 

143, 189 ; pottery, 63 ; sacrifice 

of children, 148 
Cappadocia, Assyrians in, 169 
Cappadocian tablets, 171 
Carchemish, 40, 172, 195 
Careri, 9 

Chaldsea, port of, 80 
Chaldasans, 90 

Chantre, 47, 53. 17°. I7l» 174, 178 
Chardin, Sir J., 9 
Chedor-laomer, 143 
Cilicia, 173, 175 
Clay as writing material, m 
Comana, 173 
Cones, terra-cotta, 134 
Copper, use of, 51, 54. 55. 5$, 59. 

62 ; mines, 170 
Copper in Sumerian, 58, 59 
Cossseans. See Kossreans 
Crete. See Krete 
Cros, Captain, 48, 55 
Cubit, Babylonian, 122 

Cuneiform a cursive script, 77, 
84, 184; used by Egypt, 126, 

Cypriotic syllabary, 182 

Cyprus, 65, 140, 182 ; seal-cylin- 
ders in, 140 

Damascus, 197 

Darius I., 9, 12, 16, 35 

Darius, how pronounced, 12 

Deecke, 186 

Deification of king, 95 

Delitzsch, F., 35 

Determinatives, 57. 84 

Dieulafoy, 73 

Dirk, 65 ; in Danube valley, 65 ; 

characteiizes bronze age, 66 
Domestication of animals, 83 
Dwarfs, sacred, 127, 128 

Ea or Oannes, 75, 79, 81, 119 

Ebed-Kheba, King of Jerusalem, 
196, 200, 201, 202, 204 

Eden, 78, 79 

Edin, the " Plain," 78, 79, 93 

Egypt, 47, 54, 102 ; Asiatic in- 
fluence on, 125 ; excavations in, 
42 ; and Babylonia, 101, 107, 
no, 133 

Egyptian irrigation, 102 ; chro- 
nology, 115 ; hieroglyphs, 104 ; 
language Semitic, 107, no; 
letter of an, 207 ; neolithic cul- 
ture, 125 ; rule in Canaan, 213 ; 
seal-cylinders, 112, 114 

Egyptians, dynastic, no, 114 

Elam, 26, 46, 71, 73, 144; copper 
age in, 51 

Elamite pottery, 47, 48 ; dialects, 
71 ; race, 73 

El-IIibba, 41 

El-Kab, sculpture at, 117 

Elwend, inscription of, 20 

Erech, 93 

Eri-aku (Arioch), 143 

Eridu, 76, 78, 79, 81, 82, 85, 
92, 118, 120; excavations at, 

Erman, 107 
Etruscan model of liver, 186 



Euphrates, 8r, 102, 103 
Evans, A. J., 141, 159, 183 

Fibula, introduction of, 65, 66 
Figurines in Elam, 52, 54 ; at 

Kara Eyuk, 171 
Flower, Samuel, 8 

Garstang, 62 

Gezer, 57, 60, 63, 65, 145, etc., 

154, 158, 198, 204, 206 ; graves 

at, 151 
Gladstone, Dr., analysis of metals, 

60, 61, 170 
Gold, word for, 58 
Gordium, pottery of, 171 
Grotefend, 10-13, 17, 35 
Gudea, 53, 59, 73, 141 
Guyard, Stanislas, 33, 162 

Hadad-nirari L, 57, 157, 172 

Halevy, 28 

Hall, H. R., 40 

Hamadan, inscription of, 15 

Hathor identified with Istar, 129 

Haupt, 29 

Haynes, 56 

Hazael, 21 

Hebrew, 142 

Hebron, 203 

Heeren, 13 

Heraldic position in art, 117, 180 

Herat, seal-cylinder from, 184 

Herbert, Thomas, 9 

Herodotus, 131 

Heuzey, 40, 53, 117, 121, 133 

Hezekiah, 21 

Hierakonpolis, 62, 115, 117 

Hilprecht, 56 

Hincks, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 25, 31, 
161, 162 

Hittite, 34; art, 180 et seq.; 
chiefs, 197 ; dirk, 65 ; inscrip- 
tions, 195 ; kings, vi., 175 ; 
language, 34, 174, 176, 200 ; 
mercenaries, 177, 193, 196, etc.; 
pottery, vi., 63, 149, 178, 179, 

Hittites, 169, 170, 173, 174, 179, 
194, etc., 206 

Hommel, 105, 106, 116, 120 

Horus, followers of, 61, no, 123, 

Hut-urns, 171 

Hyksos, 52, 145, 156, 190; intro- 
duce bronze, 63 ; axe-heads, 

In-Susinak, 50 

Iron, name of, 58 ; in Armenia, 

166 ; in Egypt, 62 
Isaac, 154 
Israelites, their advent in Canaan, 

Istar, 52, 128, 129, IM 
Ivories of Ephesus, 184 

Jacob-el (see Ya'qub-el), 145, 190 

Jebuskes, 205, 213 

Jehu, 21 

Jensen, 34, 168 

Jequier, 121 

Jerusalem, 21, 178, 201, 205, 210, 

213 ; king of, 196, 199, etc., 202, 

Jones, F., 24 

Kadish, 197, 208 

Kara Eyuk, 47, 48, 53, 166, 169, 

170, 171, 173, 181 
Karnak, 54 
Kas, 195, 201, 202 
Kassites, 89 ; dynasty of, 97 
Khabiri, 196, 201, 202 
Khaldis, Khaldian, 164, 165 
Khammu-rabi (see Amraphel), Si, 

127, 143, 152, 157 ; code of 

laws of, 153; dynasty of, 155, 

156, 167 ; letters of, 45 
Khattina. (Hittites), 202 
Khorsabad, 18, 19 
King, L. W., 40 
Knossus, clay tablets at, 183 
Knudtzon, 174, 196, 200 
Kossseans (Kassites), 35, 144 
Kretan script, 141, 159, 181 ; 

pottery, 178; monsters in art, 

Krete, 141, 182 
Kflyunjik, 18,131. See Nineveh. 



Labbawa, Labbaya, 174, 198, 199, 
201, 202, 204 

Lachish, 146, 202, 209 ; excava- 
tions at, 145, 149, 158, 206 

Lagas, 73, 141 

Language and race, 109 

Lassen, 14 

Layard, 18, 23, 32, 39, 131, 161 

Lebanon, 152 

Legrain, 54 

Lehmann, 33, 163 

Lenormant, Fr., 28, 162, 163 

Libraries, Babylonian, 138 

Lichtenberg, von, 53 

Liver, bronze, 186 

Loftus, 26, 80 

Longperier, de, 19 

Macalister, 57, 63, 146, 147, 151, 

154, 155 
Mace-heads, 1 33 
Magan, 134 
Mai-Amir, 27 

Map of world, Babylonian, 80 
Maspero, 131 
Megiddo, 148, 156, 199 
Merodach-baladan, 90 
Merodach-nadin-akhi, 73 
Messerschmidt, 28, 34, 168 
Mitanni, 33, 34, 167, 193, 196 ; 

language of, 1 68 
Montellius, 64 
Morgan, H. de, 55 
Morgan, J. de, 27, 33, 46, 73, 74, 

80, 82, 121 
Moschians, 173 
Miinter, Bishop, 10 
Muqayyar {see Ur), 55 
Mussian, excavations at, 50, 53 
Mykense, 65 
Mykenaean pottery, 171 
Myres,J. L., 63, 178 

Naharaim (Mitanni), 196, 202 
Naram-Sin, 56, 73, 88, 140, 143 
Nar-Buzau, palette of, 117, 121, 123 
Nar-Mer, 117 
Nebuchadrezzar, 17, 21, 45 
Neolithic age not in Babylonia, 48, 

Neo-Susian, 27 

Niebuhr, Carsten, 9 

Niffer (Nippur), excavations at, 40, 

56, 76, 77, 78 
Nimrud, 18, 21 
Nineveh, excavations at, 18, 57 ; 

library of, 23, 24, 161 
Niobe of Mount Sipylus, 54 
Norris, Edwin, 16, 26 
Nu-gidda, 128, 129 

Oannes, 75 

Obelisk, the Black, 20, 21, 179 

Obsidian, 51, 171 

Oppert, Jules, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 

Osiris, 119, 123 

Palestine and Babylonia, 135 et 
seq. ; Exploration Fund, 135, 
145 ; Hittites in, 193, 194 

Palette of Nar-Buzau, 121, 123 

Papyrus, 84 

Pegasus, 180 

Pehlevi inscriptions, 10 

Pepi, statue of", 62 ; Pyramid texts 
of, 120 

Persian Gulf, 75 ; land increases at 
head of, 80 

Peters, Dr., 56 

Petrie, Flinders, 52,60, 61, 62, 117, 
121, 156, 182 

Philology, value of, 43, 44 

Phoenician alphabet, 159, 183, 185 

Picture-writing, Babylonian, 75, 82, 
105 ; analysed, 98-100 

Pietro della Valle, 8 

Pinches, Dr., 73, 74, 144, 171 

Polyphony, 22 

Postal service in Babylonia, 143 ; 
in Canaan, 143, 189 

Pottery, importance of, 36 et seq. ; 
Babylonian, 39, 42 ; Elamite, 47, 
48, 54; Hittite, 63, 149, 179; 
Kretan, 178; Mykensean, 171 ; 
South Canaanite, 63, 149, 178, 
206 ; Susian, 47, 51, 53 ; Vannic, 
166 ; black with incised lines, 52, 

53. 171 

Ptah, Semitic origin of, 129 
Pumpelly, Professor, 54, 64 
Pyramid texts, 122 



Qal'at Shirqat (Assur), 41 

Ramsay, Sir W. M., 174, 195 
Ramses II., treaty of, vi. 
Rask, 13, 14 

Rassam, Hormuzd, 23, 32 
Rawlinson, Sir II. C, 15, 16, 20, 

21, 22, 24, 26, 80 
Razor, use of, 134 
Reisner, 118 

Resurrection, the Babylonian, 120 
Rhind, 41, 42 
Rich, 8 
Royal Society, 8 

Sacred trees of Egypt, 123 

Sacy, de, 10 

Saint-Martin, 13 

Samsu-ditana, 28 

Saqia, the, 132 

Sardinians, 211 

Sargon of Akkad, 19, 49, 56, 59, 
87, 88, 132, 139, 140, 155, 182 

Sarzec, M. de, 40, 121 

Saulcy, de, 19, 20, 25 

Scheil, 27 

Schliemann, 54, 60, 61, 65, 166, 

Schools, Babylonian, 138 

Schulz, 31, 32, 160, 161 

Schweinfurth, 108, 123 

Scimitar, Semitic invention, 65, 
66; of Hadad-nirari, 157 

Seal-cylinder, ill, 112, 114, 117, 
118, 140, 152, 180, 181, 184; 
dwarfs on, 128 ; from Herat, 184 ; 
in Cyprus, 140 ; in Troy, 180 

Sellin, 157 

Semite culture, origin of, 30 ; influ- 
ence, 49, 52, 86, 90 ; religion, 
93 et seq. ; kings deified, 95 

Semites in Babylonia, 86 

Semitic Empire, 69, 87 

Semitic family of speech, 89 ; lan- 
guages, 70, 72 ; types, 73, 74 

Sennacherib, 21 

Shaduf, 99, 130, 131 et seq. 

Shalmaneser I., 172 

Shalmaneser II., 179; annals of, 

Shechem, 198, 204 

" Shepherd " kings, 93 

Sidonian seals, 35, 152 

Silver, name of, 58 

Sin (Sinai), 128, 129 

Sippara, 46, 79, 142 

Spouted vases, 134 

Subari, 172, 181 

Sumer, language of, 28, 29, 68 et 
seq., 86 

Sumerian, 24, 28-30, 69 ; animism, 
94 ; civilization, 98-100 ; cul- 
ture, 98 — in Canaan, 138 ; dia- 
lects, 29, 69 ; origin of, 74 ; 
origin of culture, 75 ; physical 
type, 7 2 j priest, 96 ; study of, 
29, 30 ; survival in Southern 
Babylonia, 88 

Sumerians, the, 67 et seq. 

Susa, 26 ; excavations at, 27, 46, 
73 ; pottery of, 47, 53 ; metal 
age of, 49 

Swords, earliest, 65 ; in Cyprus, 
65 ; in Krete, 65 

Syros, 53 

Taanach, excavations at, 148 et 

seq., 152, 157, 199, 212 
Tablets, writing-, 82, 84 
Talisb, excavations at, 55 
Tarkhundaraba, 175 
Taylor, 55, 78 
Tel el-Amarna, 136, 188 ; tablets, 

33. 35. 136, 144. 167, 168, 

172, 174, 177, 178, 187, 191, 

193, 195. !96, 197. 200, 205 
Tel el-Hesy, 147. See Lachish 
Tello, 29, 40, 53, 55, 72, 73, 91, 

121, 122 ; pottery of, 48 
Thothmes III., annals of, 156 
Thureau Dangin, 29, 87, 91, 

Tiglath-pileser I., 173 
Tigris, 80, 102, 103 
Tin, 60, 64 

Toprak Kaleh, 166, 171 
Trees, sacred, in Egypt, 123 
Troy, 54, 60, 61/ 65, 166, 171, 

Tychsen, 10 



Uan, 175, 200 

Ur, 78, 85, 141 ; excavations at, 

Valle, Pietro della, 8 

Van (Biainas), 31, i6r, 164 

Vannic, 31, 162; deciphered, 32, 

162, 163, 164 ; deities, 165 ; 

kings, 31, 32 
Vases, Egyptian, 121, 128 
Vases of hard stone, 82, 121, 

Vine, home of, 59, 165 
Vishtaspa, 13 
Vyse, 62 

Ward, Hayes, 40, 79 

Week, Babylonian, 122 ; Cappado- 

cian, 172 
Weissbach, 27 
Westergaard, 16, 25 
Wheat, 132; in prehistoric graves, 

Wood, use of, 83, 84 
Writing material, primitive, 83 

Xerxes, 12, 35, 161 ; Persian form 
of, 12; name of, on vase, 13 

Ya'qub-el {see Jacob-el), 145 
Year, division of, 122 
Yortan, pottery of, 17 1 

Zend, 10 

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